Dazzle Camo, Battleships, and Zebras

Dazzle camouflage was invented by an artist and British naval officer named Norman Wilkinson. His advice was that the British Navy should take a cue from zebras. Their contrasting diagonal stripes are confusing for predators. And Wilkinson figured that if this discombobulated lions, it could throw-off German submarines.

So the Navy went ahead and painted their fleet with a jumble of jagged geometric shapes. The craziest part? Dazzle camouflage actually worked. It obviously made the boats a lot more visible, but it also made them difficult for U-Boats to target while in motion. The camouflage’s influence can still be seen today in modern disruptive patterns, like the Swedish M90. 


The High Diving Horse

Horses used to fly in Atlantic City. Sometimes huge crowds filled the Steel Pier bleachers to watch. Sometimes it was only a handful of people standing around with their necks craned, looking up at the platform forty feet in the air. Either way, the filly appeared. The horse was named Lightning, or John the Baptist, or Silver King, and mounted by a showgirl in a swim suit. Ladies and gentlemen, the Atlantic City Steel Pier presents the amazing world-famous high diving horse! Horse and rider trotted to the edge. And then the bottom of the platform dropped out. 




From The Jack Spade Lending Library: American Cooking

American Cooking by Dale Brown

Pay tribute to the joy of 1970s food photography. Borrow American Cooking from our Greene Street Lending Library the next time you stop by the store.


Fly Fishing in NYC

There’s a brief sweet spot for fly fishing in New York City. Between late April and mid-May, huge schools of Striped Bass flood the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Yes, that Jamaica Bay, just south of JFK airport. And urban anglers like Paris Fleezanis head to where the action is. 

Paris is the founder and editor of This is Fly, a Brooklyn-based online magazine that merges fly fishing with art, design, and music. The formula works great, and they’ve published six issues a year since 2008. “It’s a diverse platform,” Paris says. “Our goal has always been to grow the sport, and change this stereotype of [fly fishing] being an old man’s sport.” To prove it, Paris documented Jamaica Bay’s Striped Bass season, where city life meets the federally protected great outdoors. 


If you’re in the city and want to fish, but you have no rod and no clue, Paris suggests you stop by the Urban Angler Fly Shop in the Flatiron. They’ll take care of you. Just make sure you pack some good weatherproof gear.