The past is present.
There is indeed truth to that quotation from The National Archives. So, let's go back in time with this edition and take a look at who we were and how we've come to be.
First, some local stops. Traffic has always been a problem in NYC. The Tenement Museum blogs about this awesome traffic sign they unearthed:
|Credit: Tenement Museum|
Isn't the mascot awesome? Joe Klarl posts that The Tenement Museum believes the sign dates to the 1970s/1980s when New York City first launched its "Don't Block the Box" campaign to help with traffic flow. I think the toothed car is awesome, and quite typifies the vehicular denizens of the streets.
Next, Ephemeral New York has a post up about long forgotten New York airports, including the four runway Flushing Airport:
“Flushing Airport was opened in 1927 as Speed’s Airport (named for former owner Anthony “Speed” Hanzlick),” states airfields-freeman.com. “It became the busiest airport in New York City for a time."
Flushing Airport took a hard hit when nearby LaGuardia opened—and quite frankly, it's a surprise to me that LaGuardia could put anyone out of business because I view it as a tiny, local air strip. Yes, it's actually more than an air strip. Yes, I am biased in favor of JFK. I grew up 15 minutes from JFK, and convenience has definitely won my heart over.
In the northeastern United States as we head into fall and winter, there are bound to be quite a few rainy days ahead. I admit that I've never given my umbrella much thought—I mean, it's a good, sturdy umbrella, but I haven't invested much thought into the history. Angus Trumble has a post up at the Paris Review about his chance discovery of an umbrella museum in the town of Gignese in northern Italy—turns out this region gets a third more rain than London. Readers are treated to a delightful account of the history of the language of umbrella makers:
As with so many other northern Italian industries (most famously the glass factories of Venice) the relevant production techniques, recipes, and other trade secrets were jealously guarded and protected with much paranoia, even ruthlessness. To that end the ombrellai used an in-house language known as Tarùsc, which seems to have existed in one form or another among the hill-dwelling people of Piedmont and the southern cantons of Switzerland since at least pre-Roman times. And while it came to be associated almost exclusively with the ombrellai, it was also used for related purposes by smugglers, thieves, spies—indeed a comparatively large proportion of the population whose occupations were covert.
It's a fantastic read and highly recommended—and a good reminder of how we've come to be globally connected by small, everyday items.
In that same vein, you may also want to check out the history of denim jeans at Socyberty, which traces the pants from their origins as work clothes to casual wear: