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Cold Comfort: 1911

Cold Comfort: 1911

Heat wave in New York. July 6, 1911. "Licking blocks of ice on a hot day." 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


July 6

In the Bain collection at the Library of Congress, they say it was published July 6, 1912, not 1911. How did Shorpy come up with the 1911 date? 1911 makes sense since there was a record shattering heat wave that July, but how does Shorpy know the date?

[The Library of Congress citation for this image doesn't say anything about 1912. "7/6/11" is the date written on the negative. The other negatives from the same group (LC-B2-2301) of nine photos are also dated 1911. - Dave]

I like the progression of hats

Cloth caps on the boys, porkpies on the young men and a derby on the older man.

Smiles in the summer heat

I love the kids faces. They all look so pleased. But as a mother all I can think about is the number of germs they'd be spreading, all sucking on that block of ice. -- Summer in the city was such a time for polio and other diseases to spread. Looking at those kids, some of them are pretty grimy. There's a clutch of fear that crawls into my heart looking at them, imagining that they're my children.


I wish it were possible to put out large blocks of ice to cool down here in Phoenix. Eight a.m. sees almost 90 degrees already. Those things would melt before a tongue even touched them.

I wish

I WISH it was hot enough to even think about licking ice here in Washington State. A balmy 48 with buckets of rain.

1911 Heat Wave

It was 97 degrees in Manhattan today. I didn't see anybody licking ice. I saw people walking very slowly. I heard the steady hum of air conditioning units, but no children in the streets of midtown. Perhaps in the familial neighborhoods of the city there were children on the streets under the gush of hydrants but it isn't a sure thing anymore. It's much easier to cool off now.

Fancy Cheap Groceries

The ice looks just fine; the temperature touched 101 here today and those kids have the right idea. I could go for the Fancy Cheap Groceries, too. I miss Fancy Cheap Groceries.

Cold Comfort

I remember back in the 60's in Chicago we'd chase the milk trucks delivering in the neighborhood to beg some block ice to help with that oppressive heat and humidity...... and they were glad to give it out . He'd chip off a chunk to give to each kid and we'd be happy campers.




Wow, what I would have given to be one of those kids on a hot day like today. I would have been happy to just sit on the ice!

[That was the line across the street. - Dave]

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