“This squirrel is perfectly oblivious…”

Weegee, Hoarding for Winter, October 5, 1941 (14899.1993)

Weegee, Hoarding for Winter [verso], October 5, 1941 (14899.1993)

PM, October 6, 1941, p. 14

Hoarding for Winter on one of the hottest days of the year, this squirrel is perfectly oblivious to the shoeless sleeper in Battery Park. Weegee, who took this PM photo, said the leaves were falling all over the man, but he slept right on through the chatter of squirrels, the photographer’s flash and the heat. PM, October 6, 1941, p. 14

Weegee, Hoarding for Winter, October 5, 1941 (14897.1993)

There are eight million stories in the Naked City… and this is three of them:

On a very hot October day in New York, 78 years ago, Weegee photographed squirrels and sleepers in lower Manhattan. The temperature in Central Park has reached 90 degrees in October only five times since 1868, including October 5th and 6th, 1941. Today might be the sixth.

The two unpublished photos, 14899.1993 and 14898.1993, are about 11×14 inches, and the published photo, 14897.1993, is surprisingly small, about 5×7 inches. Other relevant and newsworthy stories published in PM on October 6th, 1941, included an obituary and tribute to the recently deceased Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), and two tales that illustrate friction between Mayor La Guardia (1882-1947) and Robert Moses (1888-1981). La Guardia was a standout figure at fires during his mayoralty (1934-1945). In the soon-to-be-republished book Naked City (1945) Weegee wrote that he made Mayor La Guardia “famous by always photographing him at fires.” Another story sheds light on the origins of J.F.K. Airport; construction started two years later and the airport in Queens opened in 1948.

Mayor Explains It’s Duty When He Goes to Fires

Mayor La Guardia didn’t like the crack made by Park Commissioner Robert Moses in a political speech:

“He takes up room at fires that might better be occupied by a pumper.”

Yesterday at memorial services for 44 firemen who died in the last year the Mayor sandwiched into his speech of condolence an explanation:

“I know the risks the men of the Fire Department take. I know it because it is my duty to know it, and no commander-in-chief can learn about actual dangers and risks from a book, even a report. I have yet to see one member of the Fire Department flinch in executing an order.”
PM, October 6, 1941, p. 14

Mayor Picks Site For Queens Airport

This expanding city is thinking of building yet another airport, for training flyers and for military use and, in a more peaceful period, to serve as the first air-freight terminal in the U.S.A. Mayor La Guardia, long a patron of airplanes, tipped his hand on the new proposal yesterday, saying that he and Robert S. Hinckley, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, had tentatively picked 1200 acres in the Idlewild section of Jamaica Bay, Queens, southwest of Laurelton, as the cite.

How this idea will be received by Park Commissioner Robert Moses, who has long fought to make Jamaica Bay and its environs a residential and recreational region, is not known; he was not consulted.
PM, October 6, 1941, p. 14

Weegee, Hoarding for Winter, October 5, 1941 (14898.1993)

Weegee, Hoarding for Winter, October 5, 1941 (14898.1993)

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