Across the pond with Rex Wailes: In New York

January 13th 2020 by Nathanael Hodge

Extracts from Rex Wailes' 1929 diary of his trip to the USA and Canada. Part 16.
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Bathers at Coney Island


On Sunday the 19th the day dawned hot and sultry. Coney Island was decided upon, and we took the Subway there.  It was delightfully cool after New York, and we sat on the jetty in the sun, and watched the flying boat, motor boats, river traffic and people until lunch time. The weather looked bad, and we had just taken shelter when a thunderstorm started. We returned to the Holly as soon as we could, but had to take a taxi from the Subway - the rain was so bad. It continued for the rest of the day, and I wrote mail etc. after dinner.

New York Public Library, main reading room


Next day, Whit Monday, 21st I called up the American Machine & Foundry Co. and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and made appointments with both. My appointment with the A.S.M.E. was not until 2.30., so I filled in the time by going to the Public Library close by. I left my hat and went up to a gallery where they had an exhibition of etchings - sure enough, there were quite a number of windmill pictures. The best was almost the last that I saw - an excellent and dear etching by J. D. Smillie 1890, and called "Old Mills, Coast of Va". It shews two derelict post mills, with no round house, and the usual flat double sails. They have very small bodies, which are mounted high up on the post, not coming within 3 or 4 ft of the quarterbars. The picture was carefully drawn and accurate in all respects that I could check on.


Next day Tuesday the 21st., I went along to the A.M.F.Co.  That evening Mr. & Mrs. McClelland and I went to dinner at the McClaughlins’. Mr. McClaughin is middle aged, stout, clean shaven, energetic and with a most powerful personality. He appears to have a wonderful memory, and is a most interesting talker. He seems to have lived hard by all accounts, and I should think that he'll die suddenly without any illness in the 70's. Those sort of people do. Mrs. McClaughlin is middle aged and stout, very charming and evidently worships her husband. They have no children, but a little dark eyed niece, aged about 16 lives with them. The remainder of the household consists of a rough haired terrier, a black and white cat, and a very very slow old Japanese (male) cook, a "treasure" whose foibles are put up with because he is faithful and never let them down. We had a most interesting evening.

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