Jersey City, NJ
Organized in conjunction with the June opening of the new ICP museum at 250 Bowery, Weegee’s Bowery will look back to the Bowery in the 1940s and 1950s through a selection of images by Arthur Fellig, the legendary New York press photographer — better known as Weegee. The 39 prints on view have been chosen by ICP Weegee specialist Christopher George from ICP’s holdings of more than 20,000 Weegee photographs.
Weegee’s photographs show the Bowery when it was still New York’s Skid Row. A gathering point for derelicts and down-and-out transients who huddled in the shadow of the Third Avenue elevated railway, it was notorious for its fleabag hotels, flop houses that offered 25-cent-per-night beds, and crowded all-night missions that provided food and shelter to those who could afford neither.
The exhibition includes an extensive selection of Weegee’s photographs of a raucous nightclub and cabaret called Sammy’s on the Bowery, located at 267 Bowery. From its opening in 1934, until it closed its doors in 1970, Sammy’s provided a setting where adventurous uptown sophisticates could mingle with the bar’s flamboyant entertainers and hard-drinking regulars. The New York Times described Sammy’s clientele as a mix of “drunks and swells, drifters and celebrities, the rich and the forgotten.” Weegee himself appears in a number of photographs; the boisterous book-launch parties for his publications Naked City and Weegee’s People were held at Sammy’s. Weegee’s short film Cocktail Party (1950), set in Sammy’s, will be on view as part of the exhibition.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website