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Old 06-14-2016, 03:03 PM
R. Dale Flick R. Dale Flick is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,573

*'Different time/Economics of the day*
Steamboating colleagues:
Bob, you posted great observations and questions. Remember, there were then no real 'fast food' restaurants as we know today. The last ISLAND QUEEN was huge, immense able to load thousands of passengers for the run up to CONEY ISLAND and return. You could take the morning boat up, eat your hamper lunch aboard, spend the whole day returning in the early evening or even later after the fireworks. CONEY even had at night then a kind of show on the park mall with the man being shot out of the cannon, trapeeze artists, men on motorcycles in a big steel cage or the man in the cage who blew himself up with dynamite with him bouncing off the cage walls unharmed. Trick he knew was being at the very center of the blast with it blowing out around him. They also staged water shows, water skiing artists on Lake Como similar to those in Cypress Gardens, Florida. How many remember that?

Personal income then was but a fraction compared to now. People during, after World War II were thrifty with food. Judy could correct me about the STRECKFUS boats being in some cases appealing to a higher class of passenger willing to pay for meals served on the boats. Even then the excursion boats hired PR photographers using attractive, well-dressed models in slick ads or even brochures. Sound familiar? Even the big CINCINNATI adversited on her long passenger trips the appeal to "a higher class of people." That concept continued until the L&C LINE hit the skids, the boat laid up and sold becoming the PRESIDENT. They [excursion boats and passenger cruise boats] also did a big business in school proms, graduation excursions with students dressed to the 9ns. Naturally different river towns, cities on 'tramping trips' saw a wide variety of passengers, economic levels, social levels. Not politically correct today but true. My parents, family, friends dressd up a bit for the ISLAND QUEEN with dresses, nice shoes, slacks, shirts and ties at times. One bag contained swimming suits, towels etc. Many older men I saw wore white shirts, ties or open necked with old fashioned straw hats. When was the last time any of you saw men wearing white or cream straw hats with the dark band? Kids wore better shoes and not gym shoes if I remember. Back then when there was a family death men wore the somber black arm band on their left arm over their long sleeved white shirts or suit jackets.

And, as Bob states, "something about that ball park hot dog." By 1947 ridership on the last ISLAND QUEEN was slacking off due to the family car, moving to the expanding suburbs. Many rode the boat only one-way returning back to town on the expanded buses operated by 'Cincinnati Transit Co.'

When the ISLAND QUEEN went KABOOM! September, 1947, Ed Schott of CONEY already was seeing the hand writing on the wall on the boat's bottom line in the ledger books. The disastrous loss of the boat turned him off to any thought of building a new one. Speculation was the IQ 'could' have been rebuilt to run again. Then the AVALON picked up the slack for a time.

Years later a sort of 'revival' of the idea to build or convert a boat for CONEY was discussed--and I sat in the casual meeting hearing it all. *But that's another story for another time here. No doubt Capt. Bill Judd knows about that bright idea. No, operating a big, expensive steamboat isn't just a 'fun' or romantic concept. It's hard, cold financial facts and projections. Again, what do I know?

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.
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