"Broadway had open trolleys with no side walls, in which you at least caught the breeze, hot though it was, so that desperate people, unable to endure their apartments, would simply pay a nickel and ride around aimlessly for a couple of hours to cool off."
That's how Arthur Miller described the oppressive heat of New York City summers in his 1998 essay, "Before Air-Conditioning." It's no wonder then, city dwellers often found themselves flocking to Coney Island in search of much-needed relief, despite the massive crowds.
"As for Coney Island on weekends," Miller continued, "block after block of beach was so jammed with people that it was barely possible to find a space to sit or to put down your book or your hot dog."
Year after year, New Yorkers have continued to do the same, to escape the sweltering heat that inevitably consumes the city.
With summer approaching again, take a look back at how photographer Aaron Rose captured the scene at Coney Island in the early 1960's, when the beach served as a great equalizer for New Yorkers searching for respite in a city largely void of air-conditioned comfort.
Rose's work is the subject of an exhibition titled "In a World of Their Own: Coney Island Photographs" at The Museum of the City of New York. It opens May 9 and will be on view till August 3.
Rose's intimate photographs feature beachgoers of all kinds -- from the young and the old, black and white, and so on -- all of whom retreated to Coney Island and adopted a false sense of privacy among the sandy crowds at the end of the subway line.