May 26th, 2008urban living
On occasion, I spend the night on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. It is the only ‘thing’ in the USA that actually truly evokes Great Britain. Yeah, there are edifices like London Bridge in Lake Havasu and fake English Pubs in every city but Queen Mary is the only thing built in Great Britain, storied with direct history from Great Britain (Winston Churchill, Laurel and Hardy, several monarchs, movie stars etc.), and sold to the oil-rich Long Beach Americans by Britain in 1969. Hell, it’s even had 75 people croak on it since it was launched back in 1933.
In 2003, the ship had actually spent more time crippled and mummified in Long Beach harbor than it did sailing to and fro across the Atlantic for decades before. One of the most special places on the ship is the Observation Bar on the promenade deck, which is surprisingly well preserved from the original 1920s construction, and is one of the very few parts of the ship which retains its original function intact, as well as most of its interior fixtures and fittings.
The Observation Bar, 1934
Sitting at one of the tables, it’s possible to imagine the bar just as it would have been 40, 50 or even 60 years ago with tuxedoed barmen (always men in those days) polishing silver Martini olive spoons (500 gallons of gin were loaded up before each transatlantic sailing), before serving the perfectly shaken and stirred cocktails to the elite of America and Europe as they travelled on this five-day long party.
The Observation Bar, 2008
You can see from the pictures above just how well the physical presentation of the bar has survived through nearly 3/4 of a century, but the clientele have changed somewhat over the last 70 years….Tags: long beach, observation bar, queen mary