Miami's own B-2 stealth bomber babe, Captain Jennifer Wilson, the first woman to fly a combat mission, got us to thinking-- which is never a good thing. We were reminded of that famous iconic Times Square kiss caught by famed shutterbug Alfred Eisenstaedt. It happened over 60-years-ago when Japan surrendered unconditonally on August 14, 1945. Two million people flooded Times Square in celebration of the official end of World War II. One of them was a sailor, the other a nurse. He didn't know who she was and didn't care. He grabbed her as she was walking by and gave her a kiss she-- and the world-- will never forget. Eisenstaedt caught it, Life magazine printed it and the rest is history. Time magazine calls the photo "one of the ten greatest images in the history of photojournalism." We agree. Everytime we see it, it reminds us of the war our fathers fought and the men and women who sacrificed without complaint during that dark time.
As we said in our earlier posting, it also reminds us how much has changed, how much we've changed. Not all of it has been for the better, but when it comes to giving women equal rights, it's all for the good. Which got us to thinking that if that photo were taken today, it might have looked like our lead picture-- including its deliberately androgynous take on the subject.
Regarding Eisenstaedt's photo, we discovered:
- The sailor now lives in Plantation, FL. Carl "Moose" Muscarello is in his eighties now. A retired New York City detective, Mr. Muscarello made headlines a few months ago but for something quite different. He thwarted a burglary in his own home by jumping on the back of the bad guy and bringing him down with a choke hold. Cool. Our kind of guy. In 2004, he was reunited with the nurse he kissed, Edith Shain, as both were honored at the first annual Times Square "V-J Day 'Kiss-In'." The couple reinacted the kiss in front of thousands in the exact spot it happened over 61-years ago.
- During the festivities, a life-sized sculpture depicting that famous kiss was also on display. The work, "Unconditional Surrender," by J. Seward Johnson is truly worthy. With a little Googling, we discovered that there is a 25-foot version available in three price ranges. For $542,500.00 you can have it in painted Styrofoam. For $980,000.00 you can upgrade to painted aluminum. And for those who can really afford it, you can have a painted bronzed version at $1,140,000.00, shown here when it was on display in St. Petersburg.
- For those struggling to live in expensive South Florida but would still like to buy a piece of history, autographed Life magazine photos by Muscarello and Shain are available for $2,799.00.
Too bad we don't have a Times Square. Maybe someday the plaza spanning Biscayne Boulevard and linking our new Carnival Center for the Performing Arts will become the South's Times Square. Maybe we will name it the "New Times Square," symbolic of just about everything regarding our time and place in the New World. Maybe when the Miami Herald sells its building and "leaves the room," the Beacon Council could persuade the New Times weekly paper chain to relocate from Phoenix to Biscayne Blvd. They could hang a big neon sign on the outside of a new office tower overlooking the Performing Arts Plaza with a nice electronic "zipper" sign wrapping around the building flashing us the latest news. It would remind the world that there's a really "New Times Square" in town and it ain't in New York.
If that ever happens, maybe someday we'll see a picture of a young American woman in a bikini representing fun and sensual south Florida kissing a sailor coming home from the world's last war, a war American girl warriors helped win.
UpDate (8/5/07): The Miami Herald reports that a famous forensic artist believes another man was the real "Times Square Kisser" but for us MVB True Believers, we know it was and always will be our own Moose Muscarello.