Thursday, June 24, 2010

SS United States - August 1968

USS United States, August 1968
A weekly image from my archive.

The way the trim line arcs down from prow to stern, the funnels swept backwards as though pushed back by the wind, indeed the SS United States was a stylish ship. The liner held the trans-Atlantic record for many years and in this image you can easily imagine its sleek contour slicing through the sea. On the ships stern gold lettering proudly proclaims the ship's name and home port. Pretenders would have caught this parting message – “Sure, we're the United States and we're from New York!”

My parents were probably on a Circle Line tour in August 1968 and the liner was docked and preparing for a return to Europe. The ship’s owner was already in financial difficulty: My parents flew over on a 707 and jet travel killed the luxury liner. The United States was effectively taken out of service a year later.

Looking at the NY skyline almost 40 yrs later, the skyline is still familiar despite the significant changes. On the right of this image is the Sheraton Motor Lodge West Side, which opened in 1962 and boasted a roof top pool and “off street parking”. Rooms in 1968 went for $21. The Sheraton is now the Chinese consulate having first become run down as a Travelodge (I think) and then renovated by imported Chinese workers. Just to the left of the Sheraton and to the right of the first water tower you can just see the New Yorker hotel sign which is still a night time beacon on the skyline. There's an unobstructed view of the Empire State Building and to the far left is the Pan Am building with the Chrysler building in front.

The 2010 panorama has changed considerably but I don’t think my parents, on a 1968 Circle Line tour, would have thought their child would be able to view the Empire State Building out of his living room window forty years later.

Entire 1968 Set

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