New York 1953 To Today: Transatlantic Liners Versus Cruise Ships
Times Square and Central Park attract tourists to New York City in droves, but what were the most exciting sights back in the 1950s? Thanks to an old tourist brochure from 1953, we're exploring back in the day versus today, for NYC tourists.
While no tourism brochure these days would use the phrase "your gay entree" unless we're talking about Damron or another gay-focused guidebook, this ad for transatlantic crossing on the storied French Line causes us to conjure up sepia-tinged fantasies of sailing out of New York harbor on a great ship, with goodbye party streamers flying all around and cocktails in a piano lounge.
By 1953, travelers had already mostly forgotten about the Normandie burning at dock in NY in 1942, and they would continue to sail until the early 1960s, when airplanes finally got the hang of elegant travel.
These days, New York harbor is still entertaining the big ships, but instead of black or navy hulls with sleek lines, it's all the stark white mega cruise ships bound for Bermuda or St. Thomas. You could argue that the Cunard ship Queen Mary 2 that docks in Brooklyn is styled like a transatlantic liner, but she's no Ile de France for sure. In fact, the last great liner to call New York harbor a second home left for good in mid-January 2008 when the Queen Elizabeth II sailed into retirement.
So you can cruise by The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island just like in the old days and imagine your relatives passing through here to a new life, but no longer can you do so while waving over the railing from "France Afloat."
· Cruise Travel Coverage [Jaunted]
· NYC In the 1950s Map and More [Jaunted]
[Scan from March 1953 edition of "The New York Visitor"]