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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SPANGLES: THE CONTINENTAL CIRCUS

Coney Island Bathers

Coney Island Bathers

On the beach at New York's Coney Island circa 1910-1915. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

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It was the best of times

Coney in the '50s was very much the same, lots more exposed flesh though. There's something truly magical about this image. This huge crowd of people, most of whom never saw each other before, nor ever again, enjoying "the perfect moment" together.

Schwimmentchen

oooh - so much cold water - I prefer Spain in July. But this foto is very nice to see - greetings from a long long time ago.

Anne of Hessen, Germany

Slow Day at Coney Island

The overcast weather limited the crowds that day, which I'd guess from the women's shapes and hair styles was more like 1908-1910 than later. Not one of those "wall of human flesh" days on the beach that prompted Casey Stengel's "Coney Island? Nobody goes there any more - it's too crowded."

Proof of Existence

It's stuck me from time to time when I've looked at old photos with lots of people in them that, in many instances, I'll bet, the camera inadvertently captured the only proof that someone ever existed.

I get this same feeling when I watch old film clips - like people coming and going on a busy street, for instance. They are always the people in the background, not the people the camera is focusing on, that make me wonder if, in some back corner of that person's subconscious, a little message was sent to them saying "Be sure to walk down 3rd Avenue, at Elm Street, on your lunchbreak. Somebody will be taking a movie of the horse-teams there and you'll be captured there, too, for posterity. It'll be a way for you to tell the world: I existed! My life was valid!"

Goodness...

the ratio of wool bathing suits to exposed skin in this photo must be about, what? 3-to-1? 4-to-1? How times have changed.

(Not that we see much in the way of scantily clad people on beaches here in Alaska, mind you! But we do get down to Hawaii every once in a while.)

Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska

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