collectorsweekly   14

Why Are America’s Most Innovative Companies Still Stuck in 1950s Suburbia? | Collectors Weekly
In the 1940s and ’50s, when American corporations first flirted with a move to the ‘burbs, CEOs realized that horizontal architecture immersed in a park-like buffer lent big business a sheen of wholesome goodness. The exodus was triggered, in part, by inroads the labor movement was making among blue-collar employees in cities. At the same time, the increasing diversity of urban populations meant it was getting harder and harder to maintain an all-white workforce. One by one, major companies headed out of town for greener pastures, luring desired employees into their gilded cages with the types of office perks familiar to any Googler.

Though these sprawling developments were initially hailed as innovative, America’s experiment with suburban, car-centric lifestyles eventually proved problematic, both for its exclusiveness and environmental drawbacks: Such communities intentionally prevented certain ethnic groups and lower-income people from moving there, while enforcing zoning rules that maximized driving. Today’s tech campuses, which the New York Times describes as “the triumph of privatized commons, of a verdant natural world sheltered for the few,” are no better, having done nothing to disrupt the isolated, anti-urban landscape favored by mid-century corporations.
suburbs  corporatecampus  corporateestate  officepark  growth  history  racism  labour  employment  separatistgeography  CollectorsWeekly  2016 
april 2016 by inspiral
In Living Color: The Forgotten 19th-Century Photo Technology that Romanticized A...
Every few centuries, someone rediscovers America. After the first humans arrived from Asia roughly 15,000 years ago, Vikings touched down in Newfoundland in the year 1000. Half a millennium later, Christopher Columbus spotted a small island in what is now the Bahamas, and in 1769, Gaspar de Portolà was the first European to gaze upon San Francisco Bay, whose indigenous people had remained hidden behind a thick wall of fog throughout most of America’s Colonial era.
collectorsweekly  photography  history  america  thewest 
september 2014 by brendanmcfadden
L.A.’s Wildest Cafeteria Served Utopian Fantasy With a Side of Enchiladas
On a decrepit block of Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, hidden behind a dilapidated, aging façade, lies the ghost of a palatial dining hall filled with towering redwoods and a gurgling stream. Known as Clifton’s Brookdale Cafeteria, this terraced wonderland recalls a different time, when cafeterias were classy and downtown living was tops. Against all odds, the Brookdale outlasted attacks from notorious L.A. mobsters and decades of neighborhood decline. Over the last few years, Clifton’s has been closed while staging its comeback, finally being restored to its original Depression-era grandeur.
collectorsweekly  losangeles  downtown  cliftonscafeteria  dining  restaurants  buildings 
september 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Is Our Retro Obsession Ruining Everything? | Collectors Weekly
In his seventh book “Retromania,” British-born rock critic and music memorabilia collector Simon Reynolds asserts that there’s never “been a society so obsessed with the cultural artifacts of its own immediate past” as ours. Of course, collectors have always been fascinated with antiques and objects from history. But now web archives like YouTube, Wikipedia, and Tumblr have made it possible for anyone to get lost reliving the pop culture landscape of their childhood. At the same time, smartphone apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic let us turn any new photo into a faded Polaroid relic from the ’70s or ’80s. Reynolds, who’s been a music journalist for 28 years now, is alarmed that modern musicians are obsessed with period re-creation and applying the sonic equivalent of Instagram filters to their albums rather than creating anything new. Reaching him by phone at his home in South Pasadena, California, we asked him what all this bodes for the future.
SimonReynolds  interview  culture  retro  nostalgia  critique  music  CollectorsWeekly  2014 
june 2014 by inspiral
Jeepers Creepers! Why Dark Rides Scare the Pants Off Us
Most roller coasters put their stomach-dropping slopes and brain-twisting loops front and center for all the world to see. But the amusement-park attractions known as “dark rides” keep their thrills hidden. As you’re standing in line for a tour of a haunted house full of ghosts and ghouls, a high-seas adventure with pirates, or a ride on the range with gun-slinging cowboys of the Wild West, all you can see are the riders in front of you, who get into little cars before disappearing through swinging doors into the dark. You hear the sounds of screams and shrieks coming from within. And then, an empty car arrives, stopping before you with a mechanical ka-thunk. You’re next. “It’s like a train-of-thought type of nightmare where you see a clown, then a devil, then a witch. All of a sudden, an alligator pops out at you.” Dark rides with names like Pretzel, Laff in the Dark, Whacky Shack, or Spook-A-Rama popped up everywhere in the mid 20th century. Growing up in East Providence, Rhode Island, in the ’60s, George LaCross was lucky enough to ride dozen of ’em. As an adult, LaCross realized his beloved attractions were starting to disappear. In 1999, he teamed up with Bill Luca on Laff in the Dark, the first website dedicated to dark rides and walk-through funhouses, and the pair began to thoroughly chronicle the history of these attractions around the United States, inside and out.
DarkRide  Amusement  history  interview  CollectorsWeekly 
october 2013 by NightOwlCity

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