When wealthy New Yorkers in the Gilded Age sought to escape the “heated term,” as summer was called, they certainly didn’t board a ferry to Coney Island with the masses.
The “watering place” many of the new rich fled to was Long Branch, New Jersey, where enormous hotels and cottages (aka, mansions) housed the new rich, as well as actors, artists, and seven U.S. presidents.
In 1869, Winslow Homer, who sketched scenes there for leading magazines early in his career, captured one summer moment in “Long Branch, New Jersey,” the name of the lovely painting above.
In both the painting and the sketch at left, a white flag has been raised, indicating that the bathing hour for proper ladies had begun.
In the painting, two well-dressed women shield themselves from the sun in a sky so blue, it could be the Mediterranean. Long Branch was actually known as the American Boulogne, after a seaside town in northern France.