Weegee Wednesdays: “There was dancing in the streets”

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Weegee, [It’s V-E Day!], May 1945, (15607.1993)

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Weegee, [There was dancing in the streets of New York], May 1945, (15685.1993)

There was Dancing in the Streets
New York — Unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht, although still unofficial, was cue for a bunch of youngsters to carry over their celebrating far into the evening on Times Square. They brought along their musical instruments, sat on cars and sent a solid number bouncing down the White Way. Two sailors caught the mood and to the delight of bobby soxers who beat time with their hands, danced a modern victory version of “The Sidewalks of New York” (typed caption adhere to variant photo)

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Weegee, [Celebrating V-E Day], May 1945, (15680.1993)

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Weegee, [Celebrating V-E Day], May 1945, (15682.1993)

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Weegee, The Lights Go On Again, May 1945, (15608.1993)

The Lights Go On Again
New York, N.Y. — With the celebrations of V-E Day, New York’s brownout was lifted tonight, and the Great White Way sparkled as of old. Here, at Irving Place and E. 14th Street, marquees and signs glow brightly. Note marquee at right, which advertises movies of Hitler and his Nazis, who have become only another turned page in history with unconditional — and complete surrender of Germany. (Typed caption adhered to verso)

To commemorate last week’s 70th anniversary of V-E Day, several photos of Victory in Europe Day in New York City for this week’s Weegee Wednesday.

Weegee’s photos during World War II of the home front in New York City, mostly in Manhattan, are fascinating and largely unexamined (they are rarely included in exhibitions and publications and they don’t conform with the photographer’s hard-boiled, crime, noir, etc. cliches). Here we see a photographer at the top of his game, thoroughly and at times, idiosyncratically, documenting and celebrating, (with a 4×5 inch Speed Graphic camera and Kodak and Ansco film), the inhabitants (to stretch an old joke a bit too far: the Naked City was for a few years the Uniformed City) of New York City’s participation and involvement in a lengthy yet ultimately successful war – the signage, labor, entertainment, blackouts, registration, rallies, rationing, recycling, etc.; culminating in victory celebrations… (Some of the photos were published in PM, many weren’t, and Naked City was published approximately two weeks before atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki…)

Weegee Wednesdays is an occasional series exploring the life and work of Weegee.

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