Mama Snail just returned from New York City, and brought back a batch of delightful postcards!
A kiss on the hand
May be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend
A kiss may be grand
But it won’t pay the rental
On your humble flat
Or help you at
These cafeterias surrounded by vending machines of prepared dishes began at the turn of the twentieth century. Horn & Hardart’s Automat chain became king of coin-op dining after opening their first location in 1912 in New York City. Affordable, efficient and packed with push-botton thrill, the Automat heyday lasted through the 1940’s.
This Automat postcard is from the New York Public Library, which had a fascinating exhibition called Lunch Hour NYC. I say fascinating even though I did not see it for myself, because a thorough website on it is still up. Learn about classic New York comestibles from dirty water hot dogs to pizza to the women’s power lunch at http://exhibitions.nypl.org/lunchhour/exhibits/show/lunchhour
Austiran-born photographer Inge Morath (1923-2002) had to conceal her love of art while growing up in Germany under the Third Reich. (The Nazis’ denigrating “Degenerate Art” exhibition, featuring such masters as Matisse and Picasso, proved a great inspiration to her.) After the compulsory six months of work in the Reich Labour Service, Morath attended college in Berlin where she studied linguistics, becoming fluent in French, English and Romanian (later learning Spanish, Russian and Chinese, as well.) Toward the end of the war, she was drafted into factory work alongside Ukrainian POWs. When the factory was bombed, she made a break on foot for Austria. There and back in Germany after WWII, Morath wrote articles in collaboration with photojournalist Ernst Haas (who would be a pioneer in color photography). They were recruited by Robert Capa to join Magnum Photos in Paris, where Morath developed her photographic sensibility by editing the contact sheets of Henri Cartier-Bresson.
The editor embarked as a photographer in her own right in 1951. She travelled the world shooting for Magnum and other magazines, and taking stills on movie sets, particularly in collaboration with John Huston. While working on The Misfits in 1960 or ’61, she met the man she’d marry (after he divorced Marilyn Monroe), Arthur Miller. They remained together for the rest of her life, collaborating on several books and traveling widely, keeping the camera clicking all along the way.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Danny Lyon (b. 1942) is a photographer and filmmaker who got his start photographing the American Civil Rights Movement as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Also in the 1960’s, Lyon captured his most famous images of Midwest biker culture from his days with the Chicago Outlaws motorcycle club. He would continue to take on the tough, seedy and socially ignored, from prisoners’ portraits to scenes of the inner-city.
For more New York postcards, check out this post.