Friday, July 29, 2016

Old New York City, mapped in photos

Developer Dan Vanderkam collaborated with the New York Public Library to plot a collection of old photos from the Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s on an interactive map.
The project, called OldNYC, lets you browse 19th-century New York as easily as you would click around on Google Maps. The collection contains over 80,000 original photographs. Hit the red dot on the map to see a photo (source: TechInsider). 

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Slide Farm (and Cherikee Red)

That's Roland and Louise Flora who for years handmade neckerchief and bolo slides for the Boy Scouts of Ten Mile River Scout Camp up in Narrowsburg New York. They are both gone now, be many of us have memories of going into their small workshop on Route 97 and seeing him hand carve, and her paint, the pieces. The Floras lived on the property which was once a motel with small cabins throughout the property. One of these became the workshop. Campers would hike to the "slide farm" place their custom order (to be picked up the end of their stay at camp) and also perhaps to buy a Cherikee Red to fight the heat.

Indian Point, overlooking the Delaware River

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Push Button Camping for the Modern Family

Scale model of the push button camper

This Push Button Camper was presented in The Ford Treasury of Station Wagon Living, Volume 2, which I picked up in at the Inquiring Minds book store in New Paltz, New York. So nice to see that theses independents still exist. Written in 1958 it seems to capture the essence of an ideal America - a time when prosperity was high and Americans had disposable income, and time to spend in the great out doors. The book, which shows how life is better with Ford station wagons, also serves as a guide to the enjoyment of the great outdoors. It includes campsites to visit and products to buy, most of them made in the U.S. It's a snapshot that evokes Kodak's Colorama series.

The introduction discusses the innovations that took place since the previous volume, and the prize innovation was the this push button camper concept car. With the push of a few (clunky - see the video) buttons, a boat folds out revealing a tent and a portable kitchen complete with canopy.  The concept even has it's own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang type graphic showing the contraption from above.

Kitschy newsreel type film - "While dad is out boating, mom gets the meal ready, in case he doesn't bring back any fish"

Full size Ford Push Button Station Wagon Camper, concept vehicle

Volume 1 inside cover
From Volume 1

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Sensation on Land and Water!

Saw this in Poukipsee, New York yesterday, fourth of July on the Hudson. Pretty impressive. It's the Amphicar, which was produced in Germany and debuted at the New York Auto Show in 1961. Some people gasped when it entered the water, unaware that it was amphibious.

Some of the tag lines: The Sportscar that Swims, A Sensation on Land and Water

President Lyndon B. Johnson taking a spin in 1965

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Exciting expansion for the American Museum of Natural History

Last November, The American Museum of Natural History unveiled its plan for expansion. It is fantastic looking. I am excited.  As a former teaching volunteer at the museum, I'm very happy to see that they have taken some risk with the design. The NYT described the new space:

In designing its $325 million addition on Columbus Avenue, the American Museum of Natural History has opted for an architectural concept that is both cautious and audacious, according to plans approved by its board on Wednesday. The design consumes less coveted park space than expected, while introducing a contemporary aesthetic that evokes Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, in its undulating exterior and Turkey’s underground city of Cappadocia in its cavelike interior. Full Article

The new design is inspired by structures in Turkey's Cappadocia region where lie subterranean structures carved from tuff - a light, porous rock composed of volcanic ash

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Fun - Runabouts

This is beautiful. I especially love the Johnson outboard motor. I wish I knew more about this picture but I don't have a source or a story. 

It brings to mind the classic Chris-Crafts that were so popular from the 1920s -1950s. Called runabouts, they were known for their beauty and their mahogany hulls. The company was founded in 1984 and still operates today, out of Sarasota, Florida. It's site has a lot of great historic pics.