All Steamed Up
This started off as a break in a water main… as all the cameramen left… on a hunch I stuck around alone… suddenly there was a rumble… I was knocked down by an explosion… And also covered by mud which was flying all over…My camera was also covered by mud… I got up… Cleaned the mud off the lense… I had my tripod handy… And made this shot… As I was the only one on the scene I got it exclusive… Next day I had a job to get the mud off my clothes and body… And camera… But it was worth it… My luck in sticking around had got me this shot.
4×5 Speed Graphic
5 1/4 Zeiss Tessar
Agfa Pan Press Film
New York Geyser. Arthur Fellig, free lance news photographer, was taking a picture of the flooded intersection at 56th St. and Seventh Ave. after a water main break this morning, when this tremendous geyser of steam, mud and gas broke through the pavement right behind him, and he was knocked flat on his face… New York World Telegram, May 9, 1940, p. 1
Looking west on West 56th Street across Seventh Avenue. Weegee was standing next to Carnegie Hall (visible at the right edge of the photo). The ornate architectural detailing of the Broadway Tabernacle is seen at top right. The Park Central Hotel is on the left (880 Seventh Avenue).
I made this at the opening of the Met Opera Season..
I wanted to get something different than the usual
Society celebrities.. noting a lot of men in military
uniforms mingling with the high hats… during intermission
I saw this row of hats in one of the cloak rooms….
So I photographed it…
4/5 Speed Graphic
Agfa Super Plenacrome Press
Wabbash Press 40
This season the opera opening was not all high hat; there was a showing of gold braid and a generous turnout of plain khaki. The fancy peaked cap above is a captain’s, the other just a lieutenant’s. PM, Nov. 25, 1941, Vol. II, No. 115, p. 22
Fireman getting inhalator treatment, New York City… after being overcome by smoke. ‘Fire dog’ is mascot. [Not written by Weegee.]
Pet Dog Joins Smoke-Poisoned Fireman
Fireman Edward Frank, left, getting oxygen in an ambulance during an Eighth St. fire, was joined by Boots, Engine Co. 14 mascot. The dog wouldn’t leave until Frank was able to walk. PM Photo by Weegee” PM, December 24, 1942, Vol. III, No. 163, p. 32
I wanted to get a good drunk picture… I was doing
a series for PM on New York street scenes.. But I
dint want just a picture of bums in hallways.. i wanted
something different… after roaming the streets for
6 months.. I came across this scene one Sunday morning
on Amsterdam Ave…
B & J Press camera
Agfa Super Plenacrome Press
Wabbash Press 40
The Early Hours Bring Their Own Cycle of Events
Amsterdam Ave. in the 90’s. 6 a.m. He’s sleeping it off. There’s a pavement sleeper on almost every block after the bars close. Weegee says, “But why pick a funeral home unless 711 is his lucky number? PM, July 13, 1941, Vol. II, No. 4, p. 62
It is now almost six in the morning…it is still dark…but the church is open…and the early morning worshipers find solace inside…except for this tired Sunday traveler who, a few blocks away finds a resting place underneath the canopy at number 711 Amsterdam Avenue…This avenue is full of saloons, and they are called just that…no fancy foreign names like Cocktail Lounges…So sleep on stranger…no one will bother you…not even the cops…Sunday is a good day for sleeping – so is any other say – when one is tired. Weegee. Naked City. New York: Essential Books, 1945, p. 19
And we are back…
Speaking of being back, above are the backs of five fascinating of Fellig photos.
(How to read a Weegee photo: The numbers written on the back with pencil, like 5366, 6179, 5376 and 2254 are negative numbers, and were written posthumously. The “Arthur Fellig, 5 Center Market Place, New York City” stamp was used between 1938-45. The “Credit Photo By Weegee” stamp was used on photos made between 1937-45, and was used the most on photos made in 1941-42. The “Please Credit Weegee from Photo-Representatives” stamp was probably stamped in the late 50s, on photos made in the 40s. I love backs. I would enjoy an exhibition of the backs of photos, no fronts, just backs. Often the back of a photo is more interesting than the front, for Weegee, both are often significant and exceptional.)
Weegee Wednesday is an occasional series exploring, or just enjoying, the life and work of Weegee.