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Boys Swimming in the East River, c. 1910

Boys Swimming in the East River, c. 1910

How hot would it have to be for you to strip off all your clothes, climb over all the debris along the shore, and go swimming in the East River? Today, it probably never gets that hot. But for these kids, there was no better way to cool off. In a world without air conditioning, there was the fire hydrant, sprinklers in the park, a couple of crowded public pools, and the river.

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Pennsylvania Station Train Concourse, 1940

Pennsylvania Station Train Concourse, 1940

The great Pennsylvania Railroad station was thirty years old at the time of this photograph, and it had yet to see its greatest traffic. Passenger volume would reach its peak during the war years. Rail travel would diminish in the years following the war as other modes of transportation, most notably air travel, gained popularity. By the 1950s, Penn Station would no longer be profitable, and the Pennsylvania Railroad would sell its air rights as means of offsetting the cost of operating the station. This would result in the eventual demolition of station.

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New York City Christmas, Washington Square Park, 1950

New York City Christmas, Washington Square Park, 1950

There's something magical about Christmastime in New York City.  The cold air, the smell of chestnuts, the extra hustle and bustle -- all of these things play into it, but it's also the sights, the images, that stay with you, like this Christmas tree lit up in front of the Washington Arch. There's an almost holy peace captured in this black and white photograph. Despite the absence of snow, you can feel the icy air and almost see your breath frosting in front of you. You can feel the presence of the Spirit of Christmas Past.

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