Volume 80, Number 2 | June 9-15, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Flashback

The hot news back in ’36

In its June 11, 1936, issue, The Villager — then just three years old — ran a sort of public-service announcement, at least apparently in the paper’s eyes. Headlined “Noisy Radios A Pest!” it advised readers: “Open windows and soft summer breezes coming through them make summer time a joy, but when those self same breezes carry the anything but dulcet tones of several radios from neighboring houses, all going full blast, the joy is considerably lessened. This is just a gentle reminder, urged by long suffering neighbors, that you can enjoy your radio quite as much if you tone it down so that it won’t invade the whole block. The open season for campaign speeches will soon be on, also, and the sound of a loud voice orating, especially when you can’t hear the words, is one of the most irritating noises. The true Village spirit in this section will prompt you to give a thought to your neighbors when you turn the dial.” (The Villager newspaper of that era clearly would have freaked out over today’s car radios booming out the latest jam.)

An advertisement in the same issue by Wanamker’s department store, at Broadway and Eighth St., noted that records for the past 57 years showed that, on average, there were 23 days annually when the temperature soared above 95 degrees. No, the ad didn’t tout the store’s air conditioning, since it apparently didn’t have any. Instead, it invited shoppers to enjoy the store’s “cool” architecture: “Inside these high granite walls it is nearly always much cooler than elsewhere, and there is always plenty of fresh air in circulation in the Store.”

Lincoln Anderson


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