NY Policeman Hanging Over Times Square, 1920s Photo: Fact Check


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NY Policeman Hanging Over Times Square, 1920s Photo
NY Policeman Hanging Over Times Square, 1920s Photo

Story:

Photo of a NYC’S policeman hanging over Times Square, 1920s

Other Versions

1. A New York City policeman hanging out, 1920

2. Police Aviation force member performing a stunt, New York, 1920

3. A member of the New York police force hangs from a girder, 1920

Fact Check:

An interesting and popular photograph is often shared online alleging to show a New York Policeman Hanging over Times Square in 1920s. Slightly different descriptions say it’s a Police Aviation force member performing a stunt in New York. The photograph appears to show a man in uniform happily hanging from a girder at a dangerous great height. So, let us examine whether the popular photograph really shows a NY policeman hanging over Times Square back in 1920s.

Many viewers argued the photograph is real saying some such stuntmen existed during those times. They mentioned Harold Clayton, popular American actor, comedian and stunt performer who appeared in many silent comedy films. Nonetheless, there are some flaws in the photograph suggesting it is manipulated/staged and not a real stunt of a NY Policeman hanging over Times Square in 1920s.

Screenshot of the photograph on a micro-blogging site
Screenshot of the photograph on a micro-blogging site

Policeman Hanging Over Times Square?

Firstly, the picture presence online goes back to at least January 2011, when it appeared on a micro-blogging site suzi.soup.io named ‘the alternative to the real world‘. Source of the photograph described as ‘1920 New York Police Force‘ is mentioned as ‘NY Times Archive’. But we could not find such source. Notably, the picture also appears online among some such baffling ones which are either staged or manipulated.

Coming to flaws, part of the man’s shirt is flying unusually with some bulge in his pant. Another larger copy of the picture appears to show a man standing next to the girder, who is probably holding onto the man in uniform with something like rope not visible in photograph. The bolt connections of the girder appear only partially assembled and unusually there’s a rope connecting the angular frame. There are also few stick-like things on the ground, all of which are suggesting a staged scene. Coming to the man in uniform allegedly hanging over a girder in Times Square of New York, his ‘feat’ is again suspicious. His shoulders are too low to be hanging from something like that and he’s doing it effortlessly carrying a smile on his face. Notably, there’s a trace of photo editing below his right shoe.

Possible flaws in the photograph about NY policeman hanging out
Possible flaws in the photograph about NY policeman hanging out

Like reddit users mentioned in a related post in January 2012, they used nets during 1920s to shoot or picture such incidents. The man shall stand on a net, plank or tarp, which becomes invisible later on through tricky photography or editing. So, the claim that the photograph shows a NY Policeman hanging over Times Square in 1920s is not a fact. It’s possible the whole set up was a movie prop.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

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