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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Balmer's Baths: 1908

Balmer's Baths: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Balmer's bathing beach, Coney Island." Beer, peanuts, surf and sand! 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

The Risque Bather

I think the risque bather is a lifeguard. He looks rather muscular, and his outfit looks just like this fellow's

Different swimmers there now.

Balmer's Bathing Pavilion was on the east side of the intersection of West Fifth and Surf Avenues. Land now now occupied by the New York Aquarium.

Glimpsing the future

That's an a-shirt/tank-top/muscle shirt/wifebeater. Shorts-guy was just ahead of his time. (Muscle shirts on the beach are SO East Coast.)

Night lights

There must have been far fewer people who could swim back then. A web of ropes, the most elaborate we've seen in one of these views, to hang off while frolicking in the surf.

And are those arc lights at the top of those poles out in the water? Would they have had nighttime swimming?

Finally, is that big boxy building in the distance Steeplechase Park?

Beer, peanuts, surf and sand!

After all that lot, you'd need a bath!

Risque bather!

Hard to tell with the blurred photo, but it appears to show a man in ankle-deep water wearing shorter than normal trunks, and with his bathing shirt REMOVED! Is this the reason for throngs of people on shore ... waiting for the police to make a pinch to protect probriety?

Double image

Looks like camera was accidentally moved when this picture was shot.

[Yes, it was bumped, so the picture is not up to the usual Shorpy sharpness standard. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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