Tag Archives: Weather

Woodlawn Cemetery Memorial Tells A Coney Island Story Of Unusual Death

Brighton Beach Lightning Strike Felt By Thousands, Kills Six – July 30, 1905

When walking through Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, you can come across fancy mausoleums and simple grave markers of the famous and infamous. F.W. Woolworth, Fiorello LaGuardia, Duke Ellington, Bat Masterson and Herman Melville are among the half million souls interred in this historic place.Demmerle Memorial

Then out of the blue you may stumble across the lives of ordinary New Yorker’s memorialized in an extraordinary way. Such is the Demmerle monument.

Unlike many other tombstones which record a name and birth and death years with a short epitaph, the Demmerle memorial is an ornate series of carved monuments which tells and shows the story of one family’s tragedy.

Demmerle Charles and EmilieSunday July 30, 1905 started out as a beautiful, sun-filled, hot day Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #30

Heat Waves In New York And Children Cooling Off

NYC Kids Playing at Hydrant

As New York City endures a heat wave this week, realize that for the majority of the 20th century there was virtually no air conditioning in most homes. The streets provided the easiest and most accessible way for children to cool off.

In New York, it is only recently that a heat wave has been defined as at least three straight days with temperatures reaching 90 degrees or more. Who decided this I do not know. Every region of the world has their own definition of what comprises a heat wave. Years ago, any sustained combination of high heat and humidity used to qualify as a heat wave.

This undated photograph above from the mid-1940’s shows city children on a Manhattan street playing and wallowing in the water. I like the fact that some of the people are looking directly at the photographer who is perched high above the street capturing the scene.

Cooling off Harlem 1933

This photo shows a Harlem street in 1933 with children gathering around a center stand sprinkler connected by a hose to the fire hydrant.

A four day heat wave in New York City that began June 7, ended on June 10, 1933 with a violent thunderstorm which dropped the temperature down to 86. The day before, the thermometer in the city reached the mid 90’s and reportedly hit 120 degrees in Hammonton, NJ, wilting strawberries right on the stem.

Joe Funranolla and Ray Bardini beat the heat by diving into the river July 22 1955

As unthinkable as it is now, for decades up until the 1970’s, to cool off many children would swim in the polluted East and Hudson Rivers. With the FDR Drive and the United Nations Secretariat Building in the background Joe Funranolla and Ray Bardini beat the heat by diving into the East River July 22, 1955. The temperature hit 96 that day.

It was the eighth day in July 1955 that the mercury went above 90 degrees. According to the New York Times, the record up to that time for 90 degree days in July was ten, which was accomplished in 1876 and 1952.

Boys Swimming East River 1937

This 1937 photograph shows teen boys making daring dives into the East River. The Williamsburg Bridge is in the background. I wonder how long it took to get back up to where they were diving from?

Hell Gate Bridge bathers Astoria Pool 1937

One thing has remained the same over the years: if they can get to one, kids still flock to the city pools. In this 1937 photograph the Astoria Pool entices a huge crowd, while the Hell Gate Bridge looms in the background.

The current heat wave will soon be over and when winter arrives, you can bet your bottom dollar many New Yorker’s will be saying they can’t wait for the warm weather.

Baseball In A Blizzard – The Detroit Tigers 1911 Snow Game

Snow Doesn’t Stop A Tiger Victory 

In the old days of baseball when there were fewer games and no playoff rounds, the baseball season started in mid-April. In part, the later start date was to try and prevent what happened to the Tigers on Saturday, April 15, 1911. The Tigers were playing their third game of the year at their home field, Bennett Park, against the Chicago White Sox on what started out as a cold and raw day.

One sportswriter said the game was played  in “conditions that were unprecedented.”

Patsy Dougherty triples for the White Sox.

Patsy Dougherty triples for the White Sox.

The snow started to fall in the top of the sixth.  The White Sox had an opportunity to break a scoreless tie when Patsy Dougherty led off the sixth inning with a solid triple. Continue reading

The Things We Do For Love

Boy 16, And Girl 14, Walk Over Twenty Miles Round-Trip During Blizzard With Temperatures Hovering At Zero Degrees To Get Married

Valentines Day has come and gone.  I know love can drive you to do crazy things, but I can’t recall seeing a story like this.

The date was February 16, 1904, one hundred eight years ago, the thermometer read 0° with blizzard-like conditions raging in New Jersey.  Continue reading

New York’s Big Snowstorm Of 1948

December 19, 1948 – Times Square 8:53 pm

On this day 63 years ago, 19.6 inches of snow blanketed the city.  Here is Times Square in the midst of this snowstorm with only a few pedestrians and cars visible. Because it was a Sunday, traffic was light and the city was able to prepare and battle the storm efficiently. Mayor William O’Dwyer had a force of 18,340 men to remove the snow and keep the city running.

To the disappointment of children on Monday, New York City schools were open.

Looking north from the Times Building we see on the left The Paramount Building with the Paramount Theatre’s marquee lights casting an extreme white glow and on the next block The Hotel Astor. On the right are two iconic neon advertising signs; one for Camel cigarettes between 43rd and 44th Streets and the other for Bond Clothiers between 44th and 45th Streets.

The Bond sign contained nearly two miles of neon and had two fifty foot nude figures at each end, one male and one female. A huge recirculating waterfall between the two figures topped off this amazing advertising sign which was in place from 1948-1954.

Happy Anniversary! Where’s The Snow? – The Great Blizzard of 1888

The Great Blizzard of ’88

For New Yorker’s who were able to obtain a newspaper on March 13, 1888, this is what they saw:

(click image to enlarge)

Starting very late in the evening of March 11 and continuing throughout March 12 and into March 13, 1888, modern New York City was paralyzed with its first stupendous blizzard.   The weather forecast for March 12 called for mild weather!

Over a little more than a 24 hour period mostly between March 12 and 13 New York City received 25 inches of snow, bringing virtually Continue reading