“Sailors and Floozies” in Riverside Park

In this 1938 painting, New York City native Paul Cadmus depicts sailors on shore leave—consorting with some disreputable babes beside the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Riverside Park at 89th Street, no less. It belongs to the Whitney Museum. 

“Some of these sailors are rather sympathetic, as well as one of the girls—the girl in the ridiculous hat,” Cadmus commented, according to background information provided by the Whitney. “I don’t know where I invented that hat, where it came from. No milliner that I knew.”


“Sailors and Floozies” was supposed to be exhibited in a San Francisco art show in 1940, but the Navy wanted it taken down. After the press made a fuss about it, the painting stayed in the show.

According to a 1940 Time article, Cadmus had this to say: “I  think the picture portrays an enjoyable side of Navy life. I think it would make a good recruiting poster.”

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One Response to ““Sailors and Floozies” in Riverside Park”

  1. Edward Morin Says:

    That is a wonderful painting! Thanks for sharing! Of course everyone who doesn’t have to work for a living gets to rant and rave and cry about stuff but hey it’s not hurting anyone. And back then it was more than likely done in fun. So take it that way. I’ve got some good paintings @ my blog.What I was looking for was old sailors like me. Well 50 isn’t that old but it’s old enough! Most of these old sailors should have been anchored in long ago. The big problem is they can’t. So what good was the union? Didn’t help me none. And non-union well too bad! So whats everyone doing? ALL this new fancy stuff. Gotta go, Capt.Mark

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