Amusements and Thrills

Stanley Kubrick’s photos of people in a haunted house 1946

Before he became an iconic filmmaker, the Bronx-born Stanley Kubrick was an ace photographer, wandering the city with his camera and beautifully capturing aspects of New York street life. In 1946 he became the youngest photographer ever employed by Look Magazine (located at Madison Avenue and 52nd Street), a Life Magazine look-alike that still managed millions […]

Dressed for success: The tradition of Thanksgiving masking, children in drag, begging for money!

Turkey anyone? Thanksgiving maskers, in New York, taken sometime between 1910-15. Whatever you do, don’t look the ‘lady’ directly in the eye! My new column for the Huffington Post is live, and the topic is a strange, forgotten holiday custom called Thanksgiving masking, popular among New York kids from the 1890s-1930s. Children dressed as exaggerated […]

Goblin faces, nutted moguls, loftypops, Gotham chocolates: Vintage Halloween Loft Candy ads from the 1920s

Halloween celebrations may pretty much be cancelled tonight, but you can still enjoy the candy, right?  The Loft Candy Company operated several locations throughout Manhattan in the 1910s-30s, many of them proper restaurants, including one at 251–255 West 42nd Street — where Chevy’s and Regal Cinema are today. Their candy factory was over in Long Island […]


Happy Thanksgiving Masking: The pleasures of mischief, featureless masks and cross-dressing children!

No, these children have not gotten their calendars confused. One early American Thanksgiving tradition amongst rascals and rowdies involved goofy costumes and disguised faces. Sometimes called ‘Thanksgiving masking’, the strange practice stemmed from a satirical perversion of poverty and an ancient tradition of ‘mumming’, where men in costumes floated from door to door, asking for […]