Vicarious vacations 02: New York harbor, 1963

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THEN: Backed by the Manhattan skyline, Marti Dell, 3-1/2, poses in June 1963 aboard a tour ferry that is taking her and her parents to the Statue of Liberty.(Courtesy Marti Dell)
NOW: On the same ferry route, DJ Cintron, 8, strikes the same pose while his mom, Ginelys Abreu, takes his photo. The two are from Harlem. (Perry Barber)
New York harbor, 1963
‘I was obviously very secure in myself … that innocent confidence’
Marti Dell
By Clay Eals

It is her first-ever memory.

Climbing the Statue of Liberty steps at age 3-1/2 in June 1963, the girl from Green Lake could see only her mother’s pregnant belly and the knees of others.

“I very clearly remember my father picking me up and leaning me over the railing so I could look down on the heads of everybody else on the spiral staircase,” Marti says.

New York harbor was a vivid stop on a six-week family tour of the Northeast. Her parents, University of Washington grads Michael and Beverly Dell, were headed that fall to the University of Michigan for master’s work.

Marti doesn’t recall ferrying to the Statue of Liberty. In fact, she first saw the photo of her in red duds on the deck a few years ago. It was among 15-20 slides her father had tucked away.

“I saw that, and all I thought was, oh my gosh, I’m stylin’. I have the whole model’s pout and everything,” she says. “I don’t know where that came from, but I was obviously very secure in myself at that point — the whole matching red shoes and belt and sweater, not having a care in the world.”

She revisited the statue six years ago to research her great-grandparents, Russian Germans who had immigrated via nearby Ellis Island.

A Portland attorney, Marti looks wistfully at the 1963 photo: “There’s some of me that wishes I still had that sort of innocent security. As you get older, you have self-security in other ways, but not quite that innocent confidence.”

WEB EXTRAS

Here is a video interview of Marti Dell, along with two additional photos.

VIDEO (9:31):Click the photo to see Marti Dell talk of her early-childhood trip to New York harbor and the Statue of Liberty. (Clay Eals)
Six years after her New York trip, Marti Dell poses in 1969 in front of the mosquito-fleet steamer Virginia V in Seattle as part of a Camp Sealth outing. (Courtesy Marti Dell)
New York singer/songwriter and baseball umpire Perry Barber poses on a harbor ferry in the same vantage she shot our “Now” photo for this vignette. She even brought along a red coat to allow the “Now” subject to match Marti Dell’s “Then” as closely as possible. Note, too, the position of her legs. Thanks so much, Perry, a friend and kindred spirit if there ever was one! (Courtesy Perry Barber)

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Now & Then here and now

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