Cariocas kissing in cars – 1935


Going through the 1930s archives of Careta magazine, I found the short article below which struck me for the image of Carioca couples freely sitting in their cars at lookout points in Rio for some face time. Since air-conditioning didn’t exist, I imagine they did this with their windows down and not, ahem, paying much attention to their surroundings.

Throughout the years I’ve spent studying historical Rio, I’ve always sort of wondered when the city became violent, and my instinct has always told me this happened around the 1950s onward (I’m not alone, by the way).

In the image above, one can get an idea of what kind of cars the author might have been talking about. As a bonus, here’s a racing site (and its PDF backup) showing images of the popular races that took place at the same time as the story below was being written (the Volta da Gávea was one of Brazil’s most popular race tracks). Take special note on the racing site of French woman Hellé Nice, one of the pioneer female race car drivers who was also said to have been the first woman to wear a bikini on the beaches of Rio (though that might have just been a rumor since German Miriam Etz is credited for this in 1948 — a post I’ve been meaning to publish for a while now).

A Smile for All...

“In the sentimental geography of the city, ‘territories of love’ are numerous and very well-known. Even without a compass and a “baedecker” (travel guidebook), any clever tourist will be able to discover them. But Mr. Henrique Pongetti (writer & dramaturge), with a gratuitous and praiseworthy wisdom, made himself the loveable “ciceroni” (tour guide) of sentiments, to happily teach us, not without a certain malice, the roads which in Rio lead to the territories of love. Pointing out to us, with an ironic but serviceable hand, these galant routes, the illustrious writer of chronicles declared that the automobile circuits of Carioca love, the “Volta da Gávea” and the “Volta da Tijuca”, were the everyday greatest testaments.

The Paraizo road, for them starts at the granite throat of Avenida Niemeyer, which seems like the Alighierian gate of Malebolge (eighth gate of hell), but allows — sweet clandestinity decorated in green! — the first fearless kiss from the tongue of the world. I wish to add to the geographic tips of Mr. Henrique Pongetti one more automobile circuit of Carioca love: the “Volta da Lagoa”. With the Avenida Epitacio Pessoa being my daily route into the city, I can give my testimony with authority and conviction: that territory is for love, as well…

Facing the placid mirror of the lake, the green shade of the mountain, in that beautiful landscape that starts at the Fonte da Saudade and ends at the court of Cantagalo — there are many idyllic carefree and happy people, every day! Sometimes, the sun has barely leaned over the green mane of Cantagalo hill to illuminate the lake, and already the cars slip in there, matinal-like, driven by happy couples in love…At midday, when I pass by for lunch, there are cars stopped, in whose cushions, the couples get cozy and kiss assured. Some of them, shy and cautious, hide their faces behind the windshield, in fear of being surprised in the criminal act of happiness. Naive ones! as if love were a sin…

At night, when the first stars jump from the sky to dive into the calm waters of the lake, mysterious cars, with headlights turned off, tranquilly stop in the middle of the deserted and seductive landscape, for a moment of privacy and silence…All these couples that pass by or stop there, from when the sun goes up til the stars come out, are courageous champions of a brilliant automobile circuit of love — of the “Volta da Lagoa”.

It is just a question of Mr Pongetti officializing, in the sentimental tourism guide of the Automobile Club, this new and adorable circuit. I consider it as important and as preferred as the “Volta da Gavea” and the “Volta da Tijuca”… And being that love, in Rio, is a sport for steering wheels, it is legitimate to point out this new route of happiness to lovers of automobilism…”


Copacabana’s fashionable Posto 6



From 1927 to 1933, Copacabana’s Posto 6 was the place to be and people referred to it in conjunction with the name of the famous beachside social club that was located there, the Atlântico Club. At the time, it was only second to the club at the Copacabana Palace. The Atlântico (as well as it’s sister installation, the Praia Club at Posto 4) provided tents on the sand and promoted sports activities, get togethers and parties.

Below, you can see 17 photos (plus the two above) of beach-goers at Posto 6 during the time period in question (with a bonus photo of Posto 4 at the end).



Aside from going to the beach to see and be seen, the young and fashionable also partook in a popular activity of the time known in Brazil as “footing” (which, by the way, can still be seen in some small Brazilian cities). Footing was done on Sundays and was an important social occurrence, made up of the act of strolling along the avenue sidewalks at the afternoon’s end. “As the day came to an end, hundreds of people would elegantly squeeze themselves onto the space along the seaside” of Atlântica and Vieira Souto Avenues. “This adorable back-and-forth journey” constituted an opportunity to flirt. It allowed the exchange of smiles and glances, “bracelets that fell, reciprocal niceties among young girls and boys…” It produced a “flicker of humorous utterances, elegant jokes, of vaporous skirts and dizzy heads.” The “very refined young ladies” who “did the usual footing” also took advantage of the occasion to show off their fashions. “Summer models” showed up on the avenue. In May the girls already started to appear “with luxurious and unique winter costumes.” The stroll could also be enjoyed as a parade of “little beauties”. An exalted writer described footing as “a show that seduces, makes one fall in love and delights the viewer to the maximum intensity of emotion.”

In the second half of the 1920s until the start of the 30s, the favored place to do footing was in the CIL (Copacabana, Ipanema and Leme), more specifically between Posto 6 and 4, as they were associated with the Praia and Atlântico Clubs. (PDF Source, PT)

Below, see some prime examples of footing in Copacabana, between 1930 and 1935.

All images from Careta magazine. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the one on High Life in Flamengo, a few decades prior.

Rio on Film – 1930s

Obviously these are propaganda pieces meant to entice American and European travelers to come to Rio but the city sure looked pristine back then. From all I’ve read thus far, I get the sense that somewhere around the 1950s the city started to change from its post-Passos height – what we see here – into the city we know today (of ‘beleza e caos’).

Crab fishing in Rio – 1935

Texto em inglês, e depois, em português

What it was like to fish in the 30s

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.58.27 AMThe siry (crab) is generally unpopular. They harshly accuse it for its corpse-feeding tastes, and they blame it for all the mutilations found on drowned bodies. As if in the sea and among all the fish fauna there weren’t other omnivores and a huge amount of meat eaters!

Not even for this reason, however, the poor crustacean is left in peace. If it repells the demanding palate of some, it greedily searches out the appetite of many others. These people worship the perfume of the clear and rigid meat, and make it the object of incessant fishing.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.16.48 AM(“One can’t see the contents of the basket well. Mademoiselle, however, seems satisfied.

The Morro da Viuva pier is first order of business for ‘siry candeia’ fishing.“)

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.57.18 AM(“Rubensinho appreciates the siry after it’s cooked. He fears it, though, when it’s alive.”)

Also, it doesn’t cost a thing to get them. One only needs to carefully search the small spaces between the rocks that is left bare during the ebb tide and in the puddles of water that remain on the beach. Or, to throw a puçá (dip net) into the salty water.

The puçá is just a thick wire wheel supporting a net in the form of inverted cone.

Where I’m from, the poor children from the neighborhood near the pier, who fish for crabs to stave off hunger, and who don’t have a reel nor line to make a net, substitute the former with the arch from a barrel and the latter with an old burlap sack. The effect is the same. The bloody and hefty meat, tied to the opening of the net, is what interests the crab. Once in a while, one only needs to tug on the dip net and take out the harvest. Just…be very careful with their teeth!…

Zoology classifies the crab as a “crustaceo dedecapodo brachyuro” — (animal covered with a type of shell, with 10 feet, and a small abdomen). And there are several kinds, of which the Callinectes is the most common in the Rio de Janeiro bay.

People don’t have to even know this, however. They have their own names: the “siry candeia”, dark color, found on the rocks and on the sand; the “siry goyá”, brown, from the rocks, and which reaches almost one quilo in weight; the “siry chita”, a rare one, painted black, yellow and white, found under clean sand; the “siry azulão”, etc.

The fishing is best in the summer, but during any month of the year the dip nets can be seen in action: in Flamengo as on the beach of Gavea, in Urca as on the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon or on the islands. Here as entertainment, there as a true small industry, how many people occupy their time.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.58.07 AMVirtudes beach (Guarapari), for example, has its own “king of the siry”. He’s a big guy, 34 years of age, with the physionomy of a Portuguese and the name of an Italian. But he’s a real Brazilian, this Salvador Micheli.

An early-riser like all men of the sea. He lives in Engenho Novo, but early in the day he’s already at the beach, opening his small rental business for booths, bathing suits, lifeguard clothes, hair caps, etc. An old man helps him with the work. And, while the assistant attends to the bathers, Micheli goes to fish siry. A good business, he says.

In the summer, he gets up to 60$ or 70$000 for one Sunday! Faithful clients and with no competition. Costs are almost nothing. Shark skins and ox lungs don’t cost more than the work involved in getting them at the market. Before, the sirys were within reach of one’s arm. The landfills that are happening around Villegaignon made them go farther out, though. But Micheli didn’t worry: he bought a skiff, and went out studying the depth of the sea in the surrounding areas.

He had to defend his title as the “king of the siry”. And he did it with glaring results. Be it in the summer or winter, heat or cold. Anyone who goes to Virtudes, on Sundays or holidays, there they will find, at the Estrella d’Alva, next to the clothes and bathing equipment, sirys cooked by Salvador Micheli. (Revista da Semana – 25/07/1935)

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.58.27 AMO siry é geralmente malquisto. Accusam-n’o com severidade por seu gostos necrophagos, e levam-lhe ás costas todas as mutilações encontradas no corpo dos afogados. Como se no mar e em toda a fauna ichtyologica não houvesse outros omnivoros e um numero enorme de comedores de carne!

Nem por isso, entretanto, o pobre crustaceo é deixado em socego. Se o repelle o paladar exigente de uns, busca-o com avidez o appetite de muitos. Louvam-lhe o perfume da carne alva e rija, e fazem-n’o objecto de uma pescaria incessante.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.16.48 AM(“Não se vê bem o conteúdo do cesto. Mademoiselle, entretanto, parece satisfeita.

O caes do Morro da Viuva é de primeira ordem para a pesca de siry candeia.“)

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.57.18 AM(“Rubensinho aprecia o siry depois de cozido. Teme-o, porém, quando vivo.”)

Tambem, não custa nada apanhal-o. É só rebuscar com cuidado os intersticios das pedras que a maré põe a descoberto durante a vasante e as pôças d’agua que sobram na praia. Ou, então, mergulhar no salso elemento um puçá.

O puçá é apenas uma roda de arame grosso sustentando uma rêde em forma de cone invertido.

Na minha terra, os meninos pobres da visinhança do caes, que pescam sirys para matar a fome, e não teem uma roda de arame nem linha para tecer a rêde, substituem a primeira por um arco de barril e a segunda por uma sacca velha de serapilheira. O effeito é igual. A carniça sangrenta e farta, amarrada ao nivel da bocca da rêde, é o que interessa ao siry. De quando em quando é só puxar o puçá e retirar a colheita. Apenas…muito cuidado com as unhas delle!…

A Zoologia classifica o siry como um “crustaceo dedecapodo brachyuro” — (animal coberto de uma especie de crosta, de dez pés, de abdomen curto). E distingue varios generos, dos quaes o Callinectes é o mais commum na bahia do Rio de Janeiro.

O povo porém não quer nem precisa saber disto. Tem a sua propria nomenclatura: o “siry candeia”, de côr parda, encontrado nas pedras como na areia; o “siry goyá”, marron, proprio das pedras, e que attinge até quasi um kilo de peso; o “siry chita”, um tanto raro, pintado de preto, amarello e branco, peculiar aos fundos de areia limpa; o “siry azulão”, etc.

A pesca é melhor no verão, mas em qualquer mez do anno os puçás podem ser vistos em acção: no Flamengo como na praia da Gavea, na Urca como na lagôa Rodrigo de Freitas ou nas ilhas. Aqui como divertimento, alli como uma verdadeira pequena industria, de que muita gente se occupa.

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.58.07 AMA praia das Virtudes, por exemplo, tem o seu “rei do siry”. É um rapagão forte, dos seus 34 annos, physionomia de portuguez e nome de italiano. Mas é brasileiro legitimo esse Salvador Micheli.

Madrugador como todos os homens do mar. Mora no Engenho Novo, mas dia cedo já está na praia, abrindo o seu pequenino negocio de alugador de cabines, roupas de banho, roupões salva-vidas, toucas, etc. Um velhinho ajuda-o na faina. E, emquanto este attende os banhistas, o Micheli vae pescar os sirys. Um bom negocio, diz elle.

No verão, produzem-lhe até 60$ ou 70$000 por domingo! Freguezia segura, e sem concorrentes. Despeza quasi nenhuma. Pelles de cação e bofes de boi não custam mais que o trabalho de os ir buscar no Mercado. Antes os sirys ficavam mesmo ao alcance do braço. Os aterros que estão sendo feitos em torno de Villegaignon expulsaram-nos porém para mais longe. Mas o Micheli não se apertou: comprou um bote, sahiu a estudar o fundo do mar nas redondezas.

Tinha de defender o seu titulo de “rei do siry”. E o fez com resultado evidente. Pode ser verão ou inverno, calor ou frio. Quem fôr ás Virtudes, aos domingos ou feriados, lá encontrará, na Estrella d’Alva, ao lado das roupas e mais apetrechos para os banhistas, os sirys cozidos do Salvador Micheli. (Revista da Semana – 25/07/1935)

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