Cortana closes mallwalking…and then closes altogether.

As I work on a longer, more photo-saturated post, I have to get a little snippet in because of some news that a reader recently sent me. The Cortana Mall (or the Mall at Cortana) in Baton Rouge recently closed. The only functional portion left is a Dillard’s Clearance Center, which, though physically connected to

Fabulous Las Vegas farewells us: fabulous and fundamentally car-friendly.

These days, few words get abused more than “iconic”, but few pop images—or, at the very least, few roadside signs—deserve the label as much as the sign welcoming people to Fabulous Las Vegas. Everyone knows what I’m talking about. Conceived in 1959 by commercial artist Betty Willis as her “gift to the city”—meaning she did

Ridgecrest retail reticence: even remote communities are reeling from reduced relish.

Strategically located in the middle of sun-baked somewhere, the military city of Ridgecrest, California offers the accidental visitor a surprisingly populous alternative to the preceding and subsequent miles of Mojave desolation. By contrast, the deliberate visitor’s most likely destination is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a munitions and explosives testing range and research facility,

One restaurant, two continents: culinary fusion or just confusion?

On a busy stretch of highway in southern Delaware, just a few miles away from the surging beaches, the motorist will encounter yet another of several grindingly predictable strip malls. It’s small, as one would expect in a semi-rural area (getting more so to the west, the same direction my camera lens was pointing). The

Southwestway Park in Indianapolis: a rule is removed with the flip of a (wood) switch.

Southwestway Park, one of the largest regional parks in Indianapolis, features considerable opportunities for mountain biking, among other things. Here it is in the dead of winter. Yes, it even has some grade change, for those who think Indianapolis is 100% flat. (It’s only mostly flat, but still less flat than, say, Chicago or Detroit—a

Self-serve from a sleeper: train cars out of context to coax new customers.

Growing up on the south side of Indianapolis (the city limits but still highly suburban in character), one of the most coveted places to celebrate birthdays for the under-ten set was in a tiny McDonald’s operating out of a repurposed train car. And to this day, a popular, long-standing accommodation in downtown Indy is the