Ephemera

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 6 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 6 of 7

Ephemera
Asbury Park, NJ was once known as the "Jewel of the Jersey Shore," but started going seriously downhill around the 1970s. After it had ceased to be a popular tourist destination, it became primarily associated with Bruce Springsteen, who developed a lot of his early following at the famous Stony Pony club. His first album was even called Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (even though he actually grew up in nearby Freehold). The second act to come out of Asbury Park was the appropriately named Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. They never achieved the fame and success that Springsteen did but still have a rabid local following. Apparently the town has been undergoing some long-needed revitalization during the last few years. I was never much of a Jersey Shore person so I'll ju...
View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 5 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 5 of 7

Ephemera
This is a shot of the RCA Laboratories building in Camden, NJ. I know there's a lot of history for RCA and this particular location, but to be perfectly honest I can't stop focusing on the parking lot full of sweet, sweet cars. Of particular note is that lovely red and white Buick wagon in the foreground. Sadly, my knowledge of old cars (or new cars for that matter) is lacking so I can't really tell what other models are in this picture. Any guesses?
View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 4 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 4 of 7

Ephemera
Here's a scene that a lot of people (smart-asses, anyway) don't associate with New Jersey - the sorting of vegetables. Believe it or not, the Garden State does actually produce something other than corrupt politicians and bad Italian-American stereotypes. This scene is from Seabrook Farm, which still operates out of southern NJ. According to their website, they produce 150 million pounds of frozen vegetables a year. I don't know how you grow frozen vegetables in a state that stays above freezing for most of the year, but apparently Seabrook has found a way. But never mind all that - dig those sweet vegetable-handling outfits! I wonder if the frilly, pink apron was standard issue. Bonus points to anyone who can identify just what food those women are working with.
View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 3 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 3 of 7

Ephemera
If this looks vaguely familiar, it should. It's the George Washington Bridge (identified on the reel as the George Washington Memorial Bridge). What probably stands out is the fact that there is only a single deck here. The second deck wasn't added until 1962. Since this is in the New Jersey set of reels I guess this shot was taken from the Fort Lee side. The GWB opened on October 25, 1931, making it real old. It connects the aforementioned Fort Lee, NJ to the Washington Heights section of Manhattan - crossing the Hudson River. It held the distinction of being the world's longest suspension bridge until 1937, when the Golden Gate Bridge was opened. According to Wikipedia (which is never wrong), it is now #14 on the list. The current top dog is the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan, whic...
View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 2 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 2 of 7

Ephemera
Stop #2 on our tour of Ye Olde New Jersey is the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Looking at old beach photos is always interesting, because it's one of the best ways to see the gradual loosening of dress standards. Even as late as 1957, it seemed suit pants and white dress shirts were the order of the day for the menfolk, while most of the women were still wearing longer dresses. While you're here, make sure to stop by for some SALT WATER TAFFY, and go see the latest Audrey Hepburn picture. I can make her name out on the movie theater marquee, but can't tell what movie is playing. According to my good pal Wikipedia, it was either War and Peace, Funny Face or Love in the Afternoon. And you just know that theater is "Air-Conditioned For Your Comfort!" Say, are my eyes playing trick...
View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 1 of 7

View-Master’s 1957 New Jersey – 1 of 7

Ephemera
Over the next week I'll be presenting selected images from a three-reel View-Master set on New Jersey, released in 1957. Although most of the images are quite nice, I've chosen ones that illustrate just how much things have changed over the past half-century in the state I call home. Of course, the 3D goodness is lost when looking at just one image; and when you don't have a sweet View-Master viewer. You may not recognize this road without construction equipment or bumper-to-bumper traffic, but it is in fact the famous New Jersey Turnpike. Assuming this photo was taken in 1957, the Turnpike was not yet a decade old. Construction began in January 1950 and the final nine-mile stretch opened on January 15, 1952. Even though further expansion was not expected to be needed until 197...
Vintage ephemera: Gulf No-Nox ink blotter

Vintage ephemera: Gulf No-Nox ink blotter

Ephemera
I love vintage ephemera, especially if it has to do with oil/gas companies (I have no idea why). If I had won that stupid MegaMillions drawing the other day, you better believe one of the first things I'd do with the money is to design a whole wing of my new mansion to house my soon-to-explode collection. Until then, I will have to make do with the occasional find. That brings us to this interesting item. I wasn't sure what it was at first, but some Google legwork leads me to believe it's an ink blotter. You know, from back in the day when your ink was outside your pen. It's for a particular brand of Gulf gasoline called "No-Nox," and apparently there was some confusion as to whether or not it was poisonous. Apparently it's not, so drink up! Based on the car (illustrat...
Two Guys, We Hardly Knew Ye

Two Guys, We Hardly Knew Ye

Ephemera
I never pass up an opportunity to purchase a reminder of my childhood. Toys, books, music, you name it. I got just such an opportunity a few years ago at a flea market in Dover, New Jersey. I was just about to leave this one particularly interesting booth empty-handed when I spotted a bag of these beauties: I don't smoke, so purchasing a bag of matchbooks probably seems like a silly idea. But you see, that's how nostalgia works. And besides, it was like a dollar for the whole bunch. Back in the day (up until the early '80s), the name Two Guys was synonymous in the Northeast with discount stores. It was sort of the Wal-Mart of its day, minus the shady business practices. A typical family outing to Two Guys could yield everything to new records (the vinyl kind) to a window ...
Send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Ephemera
The postcard has become a lost art; a quaint relic of the past. Oh sure, you can still find quantities of them in those spinning metal racks in any airport gift shop. But who really uses them for their intended purpose anymore? Quick – how much postage does it take to send a postcard in the US? Exactly. I came across these postcards at an antiques show a few years ago. Sure, I like to look at all the nice antique furniture and jewelry. And the old books and china are nice. But postcards are where you can really get a glimpse into the past. And since they’re not old letters, you don’t feel like you’re prying. Of course, I like old postcards for more esoteric reasons. I love looking at the cars, the architecture, the outfits and even the old fonts and signs. So many people use the word