For Naked City, his first collection, Weegee cruised the teeming streets of 1940s New York in the wee hours in search of the sensational. His photographs were lewd, louche, and licentious but always brimming with life (except when they were brimming with death).
Weegee’s profound influence on other photographers over the last half-century derives not only from his sensational subject matter and his use of the blinding, close-up flash, but also from his eagerness to photograph the city at all hours, at all levels. Snapping lovers on the beach at 3:00 in the morning, transgender prostitutes in police buggies, bejeweled society ladies at balls, the desperately poor–no one knew New York like Weegee did. Naked City showcases his talent, his love of the city, and his taste for the absurd and the unbelievable, in a book that will always stand as a classic introduction to the secret life of New York.