An Undercover Police Officer In Brooklyn, 1969

Undercover Police Brooklyn

Though present-day Brooklyn often serves as the backdrop for a number of HBO melodramas involving privileged twenty somethings navigating their rivers of trivial sorrows, it was once a place to be avoided at all costs. As explained by the back of this photograph:

“The police department in their program to crack down on muggers and sex offenders had one of their volunteers, Patrolman Wm. R. Winter of the TPF, assigned to the 78th pct, Bklyn, disguise as a tall voluptuous broad. Around 12 or 1am July 1st, while patrolman Winters was in his disguise, two men pinched the undercover man where a woman shouldn’t be pinched and the undercover man xxxxxxxxx pinched them in return. (The 2nd pinch was in the form of an arrest}. Winter is married and is the father of one child.”

Want to see more about the harsh realities of New York that you don’t get from Lena Dunham? Check out our spread on the subway in the 1980s.

Dirt, Disease, And Death: What Life Was Like During The Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl Car Road

A car tries to outrun a massive wall of dust; storms could reach speeds of up to 60 mph Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the 1930s, the Great Plains of the United States had a bad drought. But it wasn’t drought that turned these grasslands into the Dust Bowl. The worst environmental disaster in the history of our nation was caused by man.

Most folks that lived in the Great Plains in the 30s moved there to take advantage of cheap farmland the government offered. Washington wanted wheat and the Plains were grasslands; it seemed to make sense.

The problem was that wheat has a short root system. The hardy prairie grass that the farmers tore out had roots several inches deep, allowing the plant to hang onto the soil when the heavy Plains winds blew as they had for thousands of years. It wasn’t so much a problem of the wheat blowing away, it was that the wheat wasn’t strong enough to keep the topsoil from the mouth of that hungry wind.

Dust Bowl Texas 1935

Dust storm looms over Stratford, Texas Source: Wikipedia

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What We Love This Week, Volume LXXV

Body Art Insect

Source: Bored Panda

Gesine Marwedel’s Ingenious Body Art

Body Art Swan

Source: Bored Panda

In German artist Gesine Marwedel’s eyes, the body isn’t so much a temple as it is a canvas. Shining light on the human body’s transformative capacities as well as its relationship with other living creatures, Marwedel presents an artistic vision that challenges traditional portraiture. Her work is not anthropogenic; human faces and attributes are not the focus of the pieces so much as they are the constitutive elements. And in an age where interest in the physical form seems overwhelming, Marwedel’s humbling perspective on humanity is refreshing.

Body Art Heart

Source: Bored Panda

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Ernest Hemingway Kicking It In A Bar In Havana

Hemingway Havana Bar

The United States has got a ways to go before it breaks down and admits that hey, Cuba isn’t all that bad; perhaps we could benefit from trading with them again. In the mean time, we can certainly reminisce on how various figures within the American canon have kicked it in Havana. We give you Ernest Hemingway, seen here drinking in a bar. Shocking, right?

If this didn’t sate your curiosity for all things Cuba, check out our gallery on what the island nation looked like before the days of Castro.

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