View-Master’s 1952 New York City – 2 of 4

Our journey through Ye Olde New Yorke continues – from the air!  This image, quite obviously taken from a shiny prop plane, is of the departure of the famed cruise ship RMS Queen Elizabeth.  The really cool thing about this photo is the scale.  You can get a good sense of just how huge this ship was when compared to not only the other boats around it, but even the buildings on the shoreline.  Incidentally, the ship held the record as the largest passenger liner ever built for 56 years.

Launched in 1938, the Queen Elizabeth was originally designed for use as a cruise liner but owing to World War II, she was instead fitted as a troop transport.  She avoided destruction at the hands of the Luftwaffe by bypassing Southampton on her maiden voyage and instead sailing directly to New York.

After the war the ship was fitted for her original purpose – a passenger liner.  She served for more than 20 years (along with the Queen Mary, another Cunard White Star liner) as part of a two-ship weekly transatlantic service from Southampton to Cherbourg (France) to New York, until rising fuel and labor costs (not to mention competition from more economical jet liners) made her too expensive to operate.

Cunard retired the Queen Elizabeth in 1968 (the Queen Mary was retired in ’67), and replaced them both with the smaller and less expensive RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2).  A group of businessmen attempted to convert the ship into a tourist attraction and hotel (as had been successfully done with the Queen Mary), but that failed and she was sold again.  A fire and capsizing in 1972 pretty much sealed the ship’s fate, and she was dismantled for scrap a few years later.

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