New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Question Mark

If you enter the lobby of the French Building at Rockefeller Center from the side entrance (off the central channel gardens) you will find a showcase with a reproduction of a plane in sterling silver made by Cartier. There is a plaque with an inscription which reads:

REPRODUCTION IN STERLING SILVER OF THE
“QUESTION MARK”
WHICH MADE THE FIRST NON-STOP FLIGHT FROM PARIS TO NEW YORK
IN SEPTEMBER 1930, PILOTED BY THE FRENCH AVIATORS
COSTES AND BELLONTE
THIS GOOD-WILL FLIGHT WAS THE RETURN VISIT OF
LINDBERGH'S HISTORIC FLIGHT TO PARIS IN 1927
THIS REPRODUCTION, WHICH IS SCIENTIFICALLY CORRECT IN
EVERY DETAIL, IS THE GIFT OF THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT TO
ROCKEFELLER CENTER FOR LA MAISON FRANCAISE
PRESENTED ON NOVEMBER 8, 1933
BY THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES.
HIS EXCELLENCY MONSIEUR ANDRÉ LEFEVRE DE LABOULAYE
EXECUTED BY CARTIER

The plane was a variant of the Breguet 19, a Super Bidon single-engine biplane, which was built specifically for transatlantic flight. On September 1-2, 1930, Capt. Dieudonne Costes and Lt. Maurice Bellonte flew from Paris to New York City (3,852 miles) in 37 hours and 18 minutes, the first non-stop westbound fixed wing aircraft flight between Europe and America. The conclusion of a message to American president Herbert Hoover from French President Gaston Doumergue said: "... in forming one more tie between France and the United States, will contribute greatly to the development of their friendship of centuries." I guess those were better times as far as American/French relations...

9 comments:

Lucy said...

Such a beautiful object, and a great strory, I am sure these things will all add up in the end to something that will remain or grow in the future between France and the U.S. They used to say all good Americans went to Paris when they died, I think it's true...

Abraham Lincoln said...

The photograph is nicer than the plane. I think so -- possibly the reflections.

Fritz said...

Great post... excellent picture. Never knew that story. Amazing. Flying in a Biplane for 37 hours must have been a little nasty to say the least

Beth said...

How very, very cool! I'll have to take myself down there to take a look in person (which street is the French building on?). Nice photo, too.

Brian said...

Abraham & Fritz -
I got lucky shooting through a glass case in a lowlit situation.
I usually don't know these stories either. Doing this blog has been an education.
Beth - the French Bldg is on Fifth Avenue on the south side of the channel gardens (near Rockefeller Center).

Brian

Brian Branch said...

Hi Brian
I have a tecnical question about your blog, Since you didn’t post your email adress on your blog, I will ask it here: How are you able to post large images (apx 600 pixels) in the body of the blog?? I seem to be stuck at 400pixles and that’s really annoying.
Thanks in advance.

Jackie said...

Another stunning picture there Brian.

Brian said...

brian branch - sorry about the email - I though it was in the profile.
Regarding image size. There are a couple of ways of doing this. The simplest would be to just load them to another hosting site and make a link to it (in blogger, using the edit html feature). Otherwise, there are some coding tricks you can do within Blogger, but it is a little tricky.

jackie - thanks.

Brian

Carlos said...

Fantastic model and great capture.