Monday, June 11, 2012

George Raft, Lucky Luciano, and Coney Island lifeguards: the ultra-cool randomness of the NYC Municipal Archives


Notorious mobster Charles "Lucky" Luciano was nabbed for "compulsory prostitution" in 1936; his mug shot and a card from one of the lovelies he coerced are preserved in the newly released digital photo archives of New York City. The jury found him guilty of running a prostitution ring and sentenced him to 30–50 years in Sing Sing, and he was later deported to Italy. George Raft, who portrayed many a bad guy in Hollywood, is seen below with Virginia Pine at an outdoor event, also in 1936.


A Federal Writers Project photographer captured this dramatic angle on the Statue of Liberty in a 1930s closeup, looking up from knee height. And for local color, it's hard to beat the pretzel seller and the man connecting with the bear. Finally, the hunky lifeguards are for my Dad, who lifeguarded at Jones Beach, and for the older guard there, who was fired recently because he wouldn't wear a Speedo. The outfits they're sporting are a far cry from Speedos!

11 comments:

  1. These photos are great. I enjoy imagining what it might be like to live in those days rather than the present. I'm not sure if I would feel safer then or now, with all the mobsters running around back then.

    Is that pretzel vendor wearing an apron with a darling little heart sewn onto it? How precious!! He's got my business!

    And is that Paulie D from Jersey Shore's great great grandfather on the lifeguard corps? My, what attractive long-tops they used to wear on the beach back then!!

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    1. I think the pretzel vendor is a woman, so the darling heart makes more sense!

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  2. This is kind of strange but I've always thought the mobster lifestyle was so glamorous. At least that's how they depict in movies. Of course I know that it isn't, especially if you're on the recieving end of the pain. Very interesting though to learn

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  3. I'm ashamed to say I caught the Paulie D reference as well. Great eye! I also love the Luciano stuff. There's certainly an odd, almost romantic element to the mobster lifestyle. I think we owe that entirely to the "Godfather" films...

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    1. For the JS ignoramuses among us, can you point out the guy in the picture?

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  4. Your father was a lifeguard at Jones Beach? I nearly drowned in Zach's Bay when I was eight. Someone other than the lifeguard picked me up. I bet your dad would have been far more attentive than the hunk who was making time with the gals instead of watching out for stupid kiddies like me. Happy Father's Day to him, whereever he is!

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    1. I will convey your thanks ... he will be tickled.

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  5. Love the guy and the bear reaching out to each other! Don't think I'd be that brave, even if the bear is behind bars...

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  6. Wow those bathing suits are not flattering at all. Although I appreciate the covered up look to the speedos some people wear today.

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  7. Can't get enough of these photos...it makes me wonder what people will think of pictures of today in 50 years!

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  8. I love old the old pictures, the mug shot of Lucky Luciano and the photo of the pretzel vender are my favorites. Its really amazing how a photograph can capture a moment, just a second in time.

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