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Ice Dealer: 1941

Ice Dealer: 1941

December 1941. "Ice man. New York City." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Looks like the place

West 18th Street between Ninth and 10th avenues. A most unusual building in a neighborhood rapidly redeveloping itself. Old maps label this a gasholder house for the Manhattan Gas Company. It shows up on the earliest map I could find of this area, 1854, and could be a good deal older than that. An incredible survivor.

Maybe ...

If those are old newspapers that he's using for wrapping, could the headline refer to the sinking of the Reuben James?

[Yes, and he went down at Madison Square Garden. - Dave]

The leaping ram

gives away the 1936 Dodge on the right. A universally recognized trademark, it is still in use both in name and image 82 years later.

Grandpa did this

My grandfather Anthony Sabbatini was the iceman in East New York, Brooklyn. Known as "Tony the Iceman" for years until he finally got a job with Railway Express, sort of like UPS of the 1930s. He was a strong stocky guy who must have climbed a million stairs delivering ice and packages. A hard life no matter how you look at it.

I still remember:

Growing up on Belmont Avenue in the Bronx in the 1940s and seeing the ice man, the coal delivery trucks, the horse-drawn vegetable wagon, and the small wagon with the cage-enclosed merry-go-round for the kids. All going door to door offering their goods and services.

Alas, Doomed James

"Tell of Seeing James Go to Doom in Flight Fight," the headlines scream.

Who among the Shorpyite sleuths might be able to pin down the date of the photograph from this tantalizing little clue?

(Flair enough; the flocus on these phlotographs are always a tad flidgety.)


The ice dealer was one of the few who plied the streets with their carts. The others were gathered into centers where they sold their wares. Mayor LaGuardia housed them in the Essex Street Market. The first pushcarts appeared on Hester Street in 1886. There were 10,000 street vendors at one time in NYC.

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