In 1969, LIFE photographer Vernon Merritt III captured amazing beautiful colour photos of a hot summer day in the city. New York City is a costume party for the young this summer, a party that is taking place outdoors, on the streets and in the parks. Long hair, long legs, bell-bottoms. All are wearing what they want to to wear, from the shortest skirts to the longest skins.
Everybody's free, to love and be loved. Kids play in the street, summer is darn hot, the city boils. Girls seem to get their kicks with makeup. As they wear it anywhere. The most important thing is to express yourself and New York looks like a daily celebration of the self.
(Photos by Vernon Merritt III, via Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)