Friday, July 7

The roof sunbathers of New York’s tar beaches


"Lying out to work on your tan just isn’t fashionable anymore. But sunbathers glistening with baby oil were once a ubiquitous summer sight on the city’s tar beaches. Tar beaches? That was the nickname New Yorkers gave the tarry black tenement or apartment house rooftop. Tenants would drag up a chair or blanket, maybe a book, radio or Walkman, and a cold drink, then pick a spot in the sun and happily bake themselves while taking a break from the crowds and noise many stories below. Up on a usually empty roof, there was the illusion of privacy. Of course anyone living above you could see you. But in an era before smartphone cameras and social media, it hardly mattered if curious neighbors stared. ..."
Ephemeral New York

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