The New York Times / Unknown Photog., Feb. 10, 1938, Empire State Building

A lightning guide springing from the top of the Empire State Building, captured using a high-speed camera. The guides leap up from Earth, meet bolts from the clouds and direct them to their landing.

Unknown Photographer / The New York Times, July 8, 1947, Black market, Rome

“A symbol of Europe’s plight — A Roman black market in shoes,” was the original caption.

Postwar Europe, though boosted by the Marshall Plan, faced innumerable challenges in 1947. A lengthy piece by Raymond Aron assessed her situation through the prism of the black market: “Black market activities in Rome have become so widespread that they are now know as ‘free markets’. Although shoes are unrationed in Italy, the black market offers a large selection of army surplus and civilian shoes at a much lower price than those found in the stores.”

Unknown Photographers / The New York Times, Romance and Ruin, All in the Air

For the most part, the photographs recount celebratory moments plucked from a history riddled with tragedy. They chronicle the early days of the dirigible, or airship, up to the fateful 1937 crash of the Hindenburg over Lakehurst, N.J., which killed 36 and put a quick end to the age of the airship. (read more)

#1: The Akron passed over New York on its first flight over the cities of the Atlantic coast, Nov. 8, 1931
#2: Aluminum tank that would hold the 33 tons of gasoline needed to bring the ZR-3 across the Atlantic Ocean
#3: A March 1931 article described the scene at the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company in Akron as “a corps of girls” busy stitching, Mar. 1931
#4: The Akron in Akron before its first flight, which was celebrated with the release of 48 racing pigeons, Aug. 1931

© New York Times, Oct. 2011, Cairo / Egypt

A Muslim woman with a Koran and a cross among the demonstrators in Cairo reacting to the violent clashes of the previous night.

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