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The Swingers: 1909

The Swingers: 1909

April 2, 1909. "Playground at Hamilton Fish Park." New York, New York -- it's a toddler town. 5x7 inch glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.


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Baby swings!

When I was a kid (1950s), there were two kinds of swings on all the playgrounds - "baby swings" like these that had the wooden arms and back and "big kid" swings, which were just a board on chains.

Looks like mamas and big sister doing the pushing. Great photo!

Photography CSI

First-hand evidence that there were photographic emulsions sensitive enough for motion-freezing exposure times in existence in 1909.

Famous Fish Folks

Hamilton Fish (1808 - 1893) had a long political career as governor of New York, senator, and most notably as U.S. Secretary of State during the Grant administration. His descendants remained active in politics for generations, with his great-grandson Hamilton IV serving in Congress until shortly before his death in 1996 and his great-great-grandson Hamilton V being the current publisher of the influential political magazine The Washington Spectator.

One of Hamilton's ancestors was a prominent New York businessman who had one of the best names ever: Preserved Fish. Alas, the moniker had nothing to do with keeping seafood fresh, instead referring to being preserved from sin. On his mother's side, Hamilton Fish also was descended from Peter Stuyvesant, which is pretty much as far back in New York history as you could go.

Hamilton Fish Park is still going strong on the formerly skanky but now trendy Lower East Side. None of the buildings seen in the background remain today. Based on the shadows the view is in a generally northern direction, and the buildings would have been demolished when the city widened Houston Street in the 1930's for the IND subway.

What great swings!

I'd give a lot to be able to buy a swing like that, or plans for making them!

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