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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pic of the Day

Giant statue of a man. Coney Island, NYC, ca 1960.
Picture showed up on the YouTube tune Mister Glenn by Little Willie John. The tune's title refers to John Glenn, the astronaut, so you might think this is a statue of an astronaut. A Google Image Search turns up several other instances of this pic, and they all refer to it as an astronaut or spaceman.
    I think it's a welder. The helmet looks like an arc welder's face mask. His arms are bare, which would be a bad thing if you were a spaceman. It's also a bad thing if you are an arc welder, but then that shirt doesn't look very substantial, so maybe he puts on a jacket when he goes to work. Baring his arms lets the girls see how strong he is. This is Coney Island after all, so entertainment is the highest priority. I don't know what the wire (or tube) running into his helmet is. Could be fresh air, arc welding produces fumes, and down in the bottom of a ship they could accumulate. Or it might be an intercom, though I find that unlikely.
   It's nice of the shoe shine boy to pose for the picture. It gives us a sense of scale. I'm thinking the statue is about 30 feet tall.

Update December 7, 2015. Debra Jane Seltzer of Roadside Architecture dot com was kind enough to reply to my inquiry:
I describe this statue at the top of this page:
While the helmet is similar to one worn by a welder, International Fiberglass did not market "Welders" in its catalog materials -- but they did list "Spacemen."
A welder's mask only covers the face, it is not a complete helmet. You can't tell from this picture, but from the pics on this page you can see it's a full helmet. Debra also has
P.S. Roberta X identifies it as 'Muffler Man'. Muffler men weld, so it could be 'welder man' as well as 'space man'. Just don't get to persnickety about the helmet.