Reaching Into the Past, the Police Dust Off a Photographic Trove to Rival Weegee’s

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tags: crime, photography, Police, NYC

The picture, of a coat and a hat, was one of seven taken that afternoon at the Latin Lounge. But why?

Hours earlier, someone had fatally stabbed a man identified as Edward Curbreia, 32, in the bar, on Broadway at West 100th Street in Manhattan. It was Feb. 1, 1959, and two detectives arrived at the scene — in car 1514, according to a meticulously kept logbook — with their big, tripod-mounted camera. ...

The Latin Lounge photos were among thousands taken from 1914 to 1975 by officers assigned to the New York Police Department’s photo units. Later, when the cases were closed, the photos were boxed up and stored away, most recently, until a few years ago, in a basement room at 1 Police Plaza.

Many of the photos will soon be available for public viewing for the first time. On Monday, the National Endowment for the Humanities will announce a $125,000 grant it has awarded to the Department of Records and Information for the digitization of 30,000 of the pictures. The photographs will be scanned starting in July and will be available for online viewing sometime after that.

The images recall those taken by the famous tabloid photographer Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, and at some crime scenes, the police photographer who took them and the night-crawling newsman may have been standing just a few feet apart.

Read entire article at NYT

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