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Camels: 1943

Camels: 1943

Another Times Square photo from 1943 by John Vachon, colorized. I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I did. Note the lights left on on the second floor. These are the small things that bring a photo to life. View full size.

On Shorpy:
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Smoke or mirrors?

It was years before my Father disabused me of the belief that the 'Smoking Man' on Broadway was puffing real smoke and not steam. It was still a thrilling sight.

Yellow buses

As an old Manhattanite, the yellow coloration of those busses in the picture hits me in the eye. Actually, the upper portion was closer to buff. I am attaching a photo of a Corgi model which got the colors right.
I love reliving my childhood with these photos Shorpy makes available, and enjoy the many other excellent photos.

Of COURSE they're not wearing stockings!

Hosiery was rationed during WWII. IF you could get stockings, you hoarded them and wore them to a dance at the USO or to see your sweetheart off to the front.

The lady in the fur coat (and stockings!) is obviously well off compared to the girls searching their purses. One can almost see her glance at the young ladies and her sniff of disdain at their fashion sense.


Another exquisite job. Please keep them coming!

Still there in 1959.

In 1959 my dad sent my mother and me to New York City for a vacation. I remember this sign. As a curious 12 year old boy, I snuck out of my room to check out Times Square, at 4 a.m. It was overwhelming, of course. We also saw "My Fair Lady" on Broadway. And "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- Charles Nelson Reilly was in that one. The tickets were around $6. Wonderful memories!

Smoke Rings

Those cigarette smoking signs blew smoke rings. I recall one in Milwaukee in the 40s when I was a kid--Chesterfield brand as I recall. The sign was on Wisconsin Avenue at about 2nd or 3rd--on the northwest side of the corner facing southeast. Smoke rings wafted out of the oval mouth out over the street. Caught my eye--after all my Dad smoked as did my Mom at times. I could be and was detailed to buy my parents cigarettes at the tiny neighborhood grocery near my house--Albrecht's. During the War I needed the money and a small stamp from a ration book to purchase smokes. No silly age rules! I didn't take up the habit until I was in college--and have long ago stopped.

No Yellow Here!

I love those old NYC traffic signals with only 2 colors. Who needs amber?

Like Yesterday

Yup, I remember this as if it were yesterday. What a great job!!!!!!

Cushman Collection

This photo got me searching for color photos of New York in the 1940s. Found these great photographs taken from the Charles Cushman Collection. Thought some here might also like to see them.

Manhattan Fruit Drinks & Skirts

What first caught my eye was the corner store in Times Square offering "Papaya" drinks--this in 1943. As a child in Manhattan in the 1950s I remember visiting fruit drink stands with my father--he enjoyed them. Later, I thought the ubiquitous fruit drink stands were a dividend of the Puerto Rican invasion of Manhattan. But maybe NYC was always in favor of fruit juice.

Also, note how abruptly skirt lengths came up as a patriotic gesture!

Bobby Soxers

I hadn't thought of that term in a long time; this beautifully colored and evocative wartime picture sure jogged memories.

The Most Dangerous Game

That billboard reminds me of a Vietnam-era Air Force saying: "An optimist is a fighter pilot who smokes three packs a day and worries about getting lung cancer."

Mixed messages

There appear to be at least three neon slogans in the place where "costlier tobaccos" is painted. Can anyone read the other two?

[The answers to this and other questions appear in the comments under the original B&W photo. - Dave]

The Color Of Woolworth's

Wouldn't the background color of the F.W. Woolworth sign on the left be red with the gold lettering? Woolworth's sign were always red when I saw them in the 50's and later.

Wow, what are the odds?

That Bette Davis just happened to be crossing the street just at that moment!


We see Nancy Walker in the foreground looking for change for the next leg of her journey. I wonder if Chin's is open yet? Another extraordinary job, Avzam! Beautiful. You feel like you're looking through a window into the past. Wonderful

No stockings

This colorized picture is really amazing. It grips you by the collar and shoots you back in 1943. A gem.

Those two dames, both looking for something in their handbags, are quite funny. After a few minutes of looking at the details of this picture, I came to realize they were not wearing any stockings. Quite normal for 1943, but something you rarely see nowadays.

Predecessor to Gray's Papaya

I'd walk a mile

I just wish I could grab a pack of Camels, walk to the Cafeteria and listen to some Glenn Miller records. Please keep these WWII NYC photos coming, they are great!

Another fan

Avzam, your NYC Vachon colorizations are uncannily realistic. Bravo.

A whole lotta light bulbs

I wonder how many man-hours it took to screw in all those light bulbs on the Camel sign?


This is just beautiful! Fantastic work!

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