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William J. Glackens

Hammerstein’s Roof Garden

c. 1901

William J. Glackens, Hammerstein’s Roof Garden, c. 1901. Oil on canvas, 30 × 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase  53.46
William Glackens painted city life as he saw it at the beginning of the twentieth century. This painting shows Hammerstein’s Roof Garden in New York City, a fashionable nightspot above a theater where people could go to cool off during the hot summers, before air conditioning was invented. The roof garden offered many kinds of entertainment including performances by dancers, jugglers, acrobats, and tightrope walkers. This type of entertainment was called vaudeville.

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