The Room in the Elephant

And now, for something completely different. You are probably aware of the old adageThe Elephant in the room to describe a big problem that everyone sees but no-one wants to address, but yesterday I had the opportunity to turn this phrase inside out.

Back in February, I wrote about Lucy the Elephant, at Margate, New Jersey. This week I finally got to meet the huge pachyderm, and she exceeded my expectations!

Lucy is in a wonderful looking condition, ready for her 125th birthday very soon. We climbed the spiral stairs through her left rear leg and entered what I can only describe as The Room in the Elephant. It is a large, splendidly wood-paneled, split-level room with a glass panel in the ceiling which is also the floor of the howdah, above.

Taking the small spiral staircase in her left side we ascended to the howdah on her back and partook of the views of the Jersey Shore from atop the behemoth beast.

In my opinion, this is the sort of place where serious debates should be held and important decisions made, in the style of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories!

160628_RoomInTheElephant.jpg

After all, the world is going mad!

~Richard

 

The Elephant in the Room

Many eyes and ears have been on the Donald, and many mouths left agape in bewilderment, over the last several months as he blusters and bullies his way towards his goal as Republican Presidential nomination. Others have fallen by the wayside over this time and his only main rival now appears to be Ted Cruz.

Now, I cannot be unique in finding it more than a touch ironic that the GOP logo is an elephant since it seems to me that the party is now so obsessed with beating Trump at all costs that they fail to address the other elephant in the room, that is – who this would put as their top guy if they succeed in derailing Mr T.

I could wax lyrical about my opinions on Ted’s big adventure, including the childish Dr Seuss filibuster episode, his religious zealotry, compassion-less views on immigration and women’s issues, and more, but instead I offer up a graphical statement that represents my opinion, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words…

160412_BigoTED2
~Richard

Lucy the Elephant

Billed variously as “the world’s largest elephant” and optimistically as “the largest zoomorphic architecture in the world” (hmm, if you’ve never heard of the Sphinx, or the Kakadu Crocodile Inn, perhaps?), Lucy the Elephant stands facing the Atlantic Ocean at Margate, New Jersey.

This wonderful old wooden structure, sheathed in tin sheeting, was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty and used as a tourist novelty and to show the local real estate to prospective buyers for an ever-expanding Atlantic City in the late 19th century.  The six-storey building was originally called the Elephant Bazaar and was topped with a howdah to afford views of the area.  It formed part of a larger complex including Turkish baths as can be seen from this restored PD image, taken in the 1890s:

LucyElephant

The building picked up the name “Lucy the Elephant” in 1902 after it had been sold and was used for many purposes over the following decades.  By 1969 Lucy was in a poor state and was to be demolished, but a group of local enthusiasts banded together and saved the structure, moved her about 100 yards and repaired her  internally as well as providing a new  exterior “skin”.

She was subsequently designated a National Historic Landmark (amazing what difference a few years makes!) and is now maintained by the Save Lucy Committee who look after her every need!

I confess to never having heard of this wonderful piece of eccentric history until a few months ago, and I plan to visit her at some point in the near future and update this post with a few more contemporary images.  Stay tuned!

~Richard

 

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