Keeping cool on the West Side, 1940s style

“Boy Jumping into Hudson River, NYC, 1948,” by Ruth Orkin      Copyright 1981 Ruth Orkin

Long before the Hudson River bikeway was created and became a favorite way for people to catch a breeze, there was another, more direct way to cool off and have fun: taking a plunge right off a pier into the river. The caption information for this photo refers to the “Gansevoort Pier.” There, in fact, was a pier — the old Pier 52 — south of Gansevoort Peninsula up through at least the 1970s. At that location, the artist David Hammons, in a project sponsored by the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art, currently plans to create “Day’s End,” a skeletal frame representing the envelope of the vanished pier. As for the photo above, it wasn’t immediately clear which part of Gansevoort Peninsula or which pier near to it was the scene of the action.

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