Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Briggs' Excursions

On May 26, 1882, the New York Times printed an article about various summer excursions, including Briggs.
How to accommodate the masses whose vacations consist of a day now and then, and at such frequently occurring intervals as their purses will allow, is a question that the carriers of such parties by water are now trying to solve.

According to the article, John Starin, an ex-congressman, and Capt. N.L. Briggs dominate the business, but Starin's steamers attract the better class of "excursionists."
It is a rare occurrence to hear of a disturbance of any kind on board an excursion steamer or barge that flies one of Mr. Starin's flag.

As for Briggs, the article says he has added to his fleet, which once had only the Gen. Sedgwick steam boat, and the entire fleet has been "refitted and refurnished" for the season, and Briggs expects to serve 10,000 people daily who wish to leave Manhattan Island.
The Captain finds this year an exceptional demand for barges for use on Sunday, and thinks there is a growing disposition among Americans, especially mechanics, to make the Sabbath a day for rest and healthful, pleasant recreation.

384 West Street, near the Christopher Street ferry, is likely no longer close to the shoreline of Manhattan, as landfill considerably extended that part of lower Manhattan as the city built out in the 20th century.

This article helps me to date the trade card to 1882, and sheds light on the working women in each card--these were day trips for "mechanics" or blue-collar, working families.

For those who follow New York City history, it was just such an excursion on the General Slocum steamboat in 1904 that ended in one of the city's worst disasters.

(See www.edwardtodonnell.com/nytimes_slocum.htm for more information about the Slocum tragedy.)

To follow what I find in the New York Times archives or current edition, go to:


  1. i really love the domestic images on these advertisements ~ seems almost a wee bit strange, though, to show such "home bliss" of women and children toiling away while offering vacation trips.

    : D

  2. True. My guess is they wanted to remind the women: You work so hard, you deserve a break on one of our steam ships!