With holiday and work commitments colliding every day, my posts this past month have been unusually slight—shorter and less than pithy. This tendency may have to continue until the year’s end, since it isn’t going to let up all that much. But I still hope to home in on the obscure, the typically overlooked, or—something
Porto-johns and private business: a middle ground between serving customers and the community at large.
At first blush, it’s strange and disarming that a well-kept little retailer with tourist cachet wouldn’t even have a restroom available to customers. But that’s exactly what this sign in the front door of the Ulu Factory in Anchorage is telling us. It really couldn’t be more explicit. The winsome little chalet on the outskirts
By this point in the Tweaking Twenties, it’s hard think of any time during the week that a shopping mall would ever be jam-packed, so Thursday at 7:30 pm is just as good of a time as any. For the Springfield Town Center, the image below is probably typical for a summer weekday evening. Not
For the last decade or so, it’s been not too difficult to spot a specific type of vehicle parked on the street or driveway in residential neighborhoods. Here’s an example in a quiet lower-middle class part of Alexandria, Virginia: Yes, it’s the formerly ubiquitous (but hardly obsolete) food truck. Before its explosion in popularity about
By this point, we’ve all encountered the legions of business closures induced by COVID-prompted shutdowns of commerce and travel over the last year. I’ve tried to avoid too much of the cynical coverage of vacancies, instead focusing on clever strategies that various storefront retailers have deployed to generate sales from a carryout vantage point, when
Eisenhower Valley and the Victory Center: in an otherwise prosperous area, a vacant office building finds a new lease. Or two.
If the name “ Eisenhower Valley ” in Alexandria, Virginia sounds silly to you, you’re not the only one. Why would a natural feature in one of the nation’s original thirteen colonies share a name with a man whose presidency ended in 1961? Was there a little known colonial Eisenhower family who bumped shoulders with
Graffiti Highway in the Keystone State: the histories of two abandoned roads are as different as their spraypainted messages.
In urban America, it’s a common occurrence for an executive body to determine that a small segment of a public right-of-way should no longer function as a transportation conduit. For whatever reason, that 300-or-so feet of roadway is obsolete. Perhaps it’s because it no longer leads to anything; it was a dead-end that provided access
Bye-bye business casual: if the shoe no longer fits, move the business online & fly that flag elsewhere.
Exciting things are astir at the intersection of George Mason Boulevard and Lee Highway (U.S. 29) in Arlington County, Virginia. This should come as no surprise: it’s a prominent intersection, given that Lee Highway is a busy, heavily commercialized arterial, while George Mason Boulevard is a stately collector (much of it with a tree-lined median)
It’s rare—maybe even unprecedented—that I have created an article based almost completely on a social media conversation. This probably has something to do with the fact that I’m not a heavy social media user. But I’m relenting this one time because I want to churn out a quickie article as I prep for a longer
It’s hardly surprising that I might begin a brief blog article with a trash can. Lord knows I’ve featured items even more banal as the central subject. But trash cans in the era of COVID take on an added weight, even when they tend to remain unusually empty. (And COVID is a subject that at