A Pictorial Blog of Things I Make,
Items I Collect, Architecture I Love,
and Other Stuff

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Salute to the Seventies in Stamps

 Created in 1963 for a life insurance ad campaign, the Smiley face by the mid-'70s sunnily grinned on 50 million buttons, of which this is one. Smiley and its many variations live on these days as emoticons.

This nowadays generic emblem for peace derives from the superimposed semaphore signals for N and D, standing for nuclear disarmament. The letter N in semaphore is formed by a signaler holding two flags in an upside-down V. The D is formed by pointing one flag straight up and other straight down. British designer Gerald Holtom created the symbol in 1958 as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

 Not too long from now is the 40th anniverary of the first broadcast of All in the Family on January 12, 1971. Archie's chair (and Edith's, too) went to the Smithsonian in 1978. Costly replicas were created for the remainder of the series.
To see another post about this sitcom, visit: Three Humble Historic Houses

This stamp (issued in 1998, as were the three above) pays tribute to the disco decade's bellbottom jeans, platform shoes and Qiana shirts.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rustic Architecture and Accoutrements in Central Park

 Peppered throughout the park's 843 acres are varied specimens of rustic design--like this wisteria arbor near 72nd Street and CPW.

 One of the grander exemplars of this bucolic style is Cop Cot near Sixth Avenue and Central Park South. (Cop Cot is Anglo-Saxon for hilltop cottage.)

 Here's a humbler instance--across from the American Museum of Natural History.

 Landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing is said to have introduced the rustic style to our youthful nation around 1850. As an advocate of good taste, Downing was the Martha Stewart of his day and, for the time, just as much a celebrity. Bridge No. 32, above, provides passage over a stream in the North Woods.

 It was in Central Park that Americans were first exposed to the Arcadian allure of the rustic style, thanks to the designs of Calvert Vaux, a protégé of Downing and, along with Frederick Law Olmsted, co-designer of the park. Above is a graceful suite of benches in the Shakespeare Garden.

 Adirondack architecture is a byname of the rustic style, expressed here by a shelter in the Dene near 68th Street and Fifth Avenue. Olmsted bestowed quaint appellations to various features of the park, and dene means dale or valley.
 Since mid-19th-century Americans held deep-seated beliefs that our new nation's spiritual values rested in nature, this rustic bench--near the Pool--can be construed as a lofty cathedra from which the masses could savor it. 

Affording a path over the gorge that flows from the Ramble into the Lake is the Gill Bridge, newly constructed from black locust.

 Many other naive hallmarks of the park (like these rustic railings near Shakespeare Garden) are fashioned from black locust, sometimes from trees that grew in the park. Cedar is another typical material.

 Reflecting the organic ideal of the rustic style--but in an almost Modernist way--these steps were inscribed into mica schist near Central Park South. This 450-million-year-old schist occurs not only in the park but throughout Manhattan, providing foundation for the skyscrapers that assert such blunt contradiction to the park's sylvan designs.
To look at more pictures of Central Park, visit: Springtide in Manhattan

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Four-Course Spread of Bigwig Kitchens

Queens, N.Y.: The kitchen of Louis Armstrong has cobalt cabinets with dishwasher to match and (to the left of the sink) a built-in dispenser for waxed paper and aluminum foil. Armstrong moved into this cozy Corona abode in 1943 and the kitchen has not been tampered with since his death in 1971. 

Lincoln, Mass.: Designed in 1938, the Küche of German-born architect Walter Gropius--with its stainless-steel sink and countertops, two garbage disposals and early electric dishwasher--served as a much-imitated model for up-to-date kitchens constructed in the U.S. after World War II. Gropius died in 1969, and more than four decades later, his innovative kitchen lives on unchanged.

 Washington, D.C.: Three years before her death in 2004, Julia Child conveyed her Cambridge, Mass., kitchen to the Smithsonian, which reinstalled it lock, stockpot and melon baller in the National Museum of American Museum. The kitchen was designed in 1961 by Julia's husband, Paul.

Flat Rock, N.C.: After his death in 1967, Carl Sandburg's home of 22 years--with all its contents intact--became the first U.S. Historic Site honoring an American poet. The kitchen looks as it did the day he died, right down to some dirty dishes in the sink.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Eloquent Opening Statements in N.Y.C.

 233 Fifth Avenue: The doorpulls of the Museum of Sex explicitly signal X-rated exhibitions.

 170 East 110th Street: Savoy Bakery.

 75 Ninth Avenue: Dickson's Farmstand Meats. What a cleaver idea, no?

 1123 Broadway: The eatery Hill Country Chicken.

430 86th Street, Bay Ridge: What you see is what you get.
To look at more doors, visit: Art Deco Doors in N.Y.C.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Selections From My Collection of Stuckey's Post Cards

 Stuckey's has been an American roadside institution since 1937. This Stuckey's is in Altamont, Ill.

 The first Stuckey's was a folksy pecan stand operated by Williamson Sylvester Stuckey Sr. (1909-1977) in Eastman, Ga. This Stuckey's is (or rather, was) in Diboll, Texas.

 Starting in the late 1960s a teal pagoda-style roof became Stuckey's trademark design for its newer franchises. Here is an example in Whitakers, N.C.  

 The first Stuckey's franchise opened here in 1947, though this is not the initial structure. From Georgia, Stuckey's radiated to points throughout the South and much of the rest of the country, eventually numbering 350 or so outlets. 

When older facilities were updated, a zigzag roof became the signature shelter for gas pumps, usually Texaco. This is the same Altamont, Ill., Stuckey's as in the top post card, shown with a new teal roof as well.

Nowadays there are about 200 Stuckey's, but this one in Ronks, Pa., is no longer.
For another tribute to a roadside icon, visit: A Salute to the Holiday Inn Sign

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Modernism in the Midwest

Wauwatosa, Wis.: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (1961) by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Madison, Wis.: First Unitarian Meeting House (1951), also by Wright.  

 Milwaukee Museum of Art (2001) by Santiago Calatrava.

 Dubuque, Iowa:  Prairie-style band shell (1930s) by Alfred Caldwell in Eagle Point Park.

Glencoe, Ill.: North Shore Congregation Israel Synagogue (1964) by Minoru Yamasaki.

Chicago: Frederick C. Robie House (1906) by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The University of Chicago's Regenstein Library (1970) by Walter Netsch of SOM. 

Chicago: Illinois Institute of Technology's McCormick Tribune Campus Center (2003) by Rem Koolhaas.

River Forest, Ill.: William H. Winslow House (1893) by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Davenport, Iowa: Figge Art Museum (2005) by David Chipperfield.

Columbus, Wis.: Farmers' and Merchants' Union Bank (1919) by Louis Sullivan.

University of Chicago's Laird Bell Law School Quadrangle (1959) by Eero Saarinen.
To see further examples, visit: More Modernism in the Midwest & Yet More Modernism in the Midwest