Friday, May 23, 2008

POSTCARD HISTORY LESSON - actual photo from Central Park 1904

I have a ridiculously large collection of gondola-related postcards.
Don't envy me or be impressed - it's really just a pathetic addiction.
But hey, I figure if I'm gonna collect something - it might as well be something small and inexpensive.
Oh, sure, I'd love to collect Ferraris, but I haven't the means, nor the parking spaces.
So it's postcards. Many of them are the typical colorized photos, or artist renderings that were so popular during the first part of the Twentieth Century.
Every now and then, I come across what the postcard experts call a "Real Photographic" or "RP".
This is one such card.
The problem with the other cards is that you can't really tell how "honest" the images are.
I've covered a number of issues in previous posts, related to colors. There's no absolute proof that they painted the gondolas red, green, and even white in Venice, California based on colorized images. Many of the colorized cards show the ferro blades in a gold color; I doubt that the gondolas depicted actually had brass or gold ferri, but it is possible that the gondoliers painted them gold.
I know what you're thinking: "it's a black and white photo, how are you going to see hull-colors?"
And if you're saying that, you make a good point. I think the main reason I like these monochromes is that they are true images. With all their black and white drawbacks, they still offer us a true snapshot and the feeling like we were there to see it for ourselves.

This postcard was sent to someone in Liecester, England.
It was sent in 1904 with a postmark on the back from New York.
there's another postmark on the front stamped right on top of a bush on the shore.

The written message on the front says:
"Perhaps some day I will take you out on this lake.
The stamp on the back is in the amount of two cents.
That was the postage for international postcards. Domestic postcards only cost one cent back then.
My how things have changed.
(yes, I think I've said that a few times before)

Here's a close-up of the gondola.
By the lines, she certainly seems to be a Venice-built gondola.
the dark spot above the center of the vessel looks like it might be a rock or small boat.
it looks like there were four passengers riding in the gondola, and whoever the gondolier was, he was moving fast enough to leave a noticeable wake.
The building in the background was the original boathouse, with it's Victorian architectural style. It's been replaced by the current boathouse.
In fact, we're looking at another one of those photos where none of the man-made items exists anymore.

to learn more about the current gondola operation on Cantral Park's lake, see:

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