Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hudson Tube Recreation Guide

I don't think of the Hudson Tubes, also known as the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, now known as the PATH system... every time I see an ad for H & M the clothing store I think of H & M the railroad... because sometimes I live in the past. Not even my own past, since the earliest I can remember riding through the tube was some years after it became PATH in 1962. But that's another story.

I don't think of the Hudson Tubes and recreation together. I guess not enough people did, so the company put out a Recreation Guide. There's no date. What's on the map inside tells me the likely date range is 1946-1956. The map is signed OPPY.

Oppy was the illustrator Amelia Opdyke Jones. She's best known for subway poster art (see here), but here she has strayed onto the H & M.

The compass rose for the map. It's fitting that the Tubes would have a round logo. That's one of the black cars, with the arched windows, which ran until newer equipment started arriving in 1958 and later. Oppy's lettering is always simple and pleasing.

Ball Parks: Ebbets Field, Polo Grounds, Yankee Stadium. For all three ballyards readers are advised, Get free H&M home game schedule. (If there are any other games played with balls, they are not mentioned in this guide.)

Concerts: Goodman Band. That bandshell in Central Park.

Greenwich Village: Quaint streets, shops, outdoor art shows, Washington Sq.

Library: Take IND "D" train to 42 St. Open Mon. through Sat. 9 AM to 10 PM. Sun. 1 to 10. Free.

Museums: Cloisters, Metropolitan, Modern Art, Mus City of N Y, Nat Hist and Planetarium. Admission to the MoMA was 60 cents, and the rest were free, except the Planetarium.

Zoos: Bronx, Central Park, Prospect Park. Free, except for some reason the Bronx Zoo was 12 cents Tuesday to Thursday.

Beaches: Coney Island, Orchard Beach. Beachgoers journeying on the uptown IRT from Fulton Street are advised to change at 125 St.

Buildings: City Hall, Empire State, Grant's Tomb, Radio City, Stock Exchange, United Nations. An interesting selection. Outstanding colonial architecture, antiques, it says of City Hall, at a lost age when visitors could not only walk right up to City Hall but go inside. Don't try it now. The 70th floor observation deck at "Radio City" (were they avoiding mentioning RCA?) at $1.50 a pop cost more to visit than the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, but the former did include a guided tour.

Churches: Cath of St John, St Patrick's Cath, St Paul's Chapel, Temple Emanu-El, Trinity. I almost thought St Paul's made the list just because it was catty corner across from Hudson Terminal, but, Oldest public edifice in Manhattan, it says here.

Boat Rides: Around Man Island, Central Park Rowboats, Statue of Liberty, Various Other Cruises. I laughed at combining the rowboats into this category, but boats is boats. The Various Other Cruises mostly left from Pier 81 North River, 42nd St, and went to Atlantic Highlands, Bear Mt, Newburg, Poughkeepsie, West Pt, Yonkers (a confusingly disordered list). Others left from Pier 1 North River for Rye Playland, Rockaway Beach, and Moonlight Sail.

The Boat Rides item carefully steps around mentioning any ferries, not even the tourist favorite, the Staten Island Ferry. Touchy subject: the Tubes were built to replace or compete with the railroad ferries across the Hudson. If you wanted to ride a ferry... you could just get on one at Hoboken Terminal or Erie Jersey City and not use the Hudson Tubes. They didn't want anyone doing that!

I was looking around on the web for more on Oppy. I found the abstract of a New Yorker Talk of the Town feature from 1957 about the opening of the New York Aquarium, under the insane title "Aquarium Vernissage". Among those seated at Laurance Rockefeller's table was:--
Mrs. Amelia Opdyke Jones, who does posters for the "Subway Sun", and her son William. Young Mr. Jones runs a student alligator agency at Princeton, where he is about to graduate.

From the Daily Princetonian number for May 2, 1957:
Alligator Agency Formed to Satisfy That 'Hard to Please' Young Lady


"For the girl who has everything ... a live alligator." Two seniors have formed an organization to provide such merchandise for that hard-to-please young lady. "Sure we're serious," William J. Jones Jr. '57, co-founder of the Student Alligator Agency with Raymond S. Willey '57, said yesterday. The agency will send alligators to any place in the United States and Canada for $6.25, which price includes postage. Jones said the alligators, which run from a foot to a foot-and-half long, are guaranteed to arrive alive. The baby 'gators are all originally inhabitants of the Okefenokee Swamp in Florida, which also houses Pogo and his friends. They are shipped out by a Fort Lauderdale mailing firm. The agency suggests sending them as presents to preceptors, houseparties' dates, maiden aunts and brides-to-be. Upon arrival they will grow at a rate of only an inch-per-month. The care of the animals is no problem at all, as they will eat most anything. A rare delicacy for them is rare hamburger. It must be added, however, that sometimes they have to be forcefed at considerable risk to the feeder. Jones explained that he got into the business not only to make money, but because "just being the Student Alligator Agency appealed to us."

Sometimes I just don't know where one of my blog entries will lead me.

Two years earlier Oppy donated a silk dress from 1835 to the Metropolitan Museum. What is this, a commercial illustrator hobnobbing with a Rockefeller and donating fine antique clothing? Did she marry rich? Who was Mr Jones?

The more you know, the more you don't know.


1 comment:

  1. Some of the illustrations appear to be in the style of the Monopoly Game cards.