For those of you that don’t already know, I love the New York City of the 1970s. I’ve posted a rare photo series, a series of park patron photos, multiple articles illustrating the crime and grime in the subway system, and even the Kojak opening. New York has come a long way in the last few decades, and those natives (myself included) who sometimes clamor for the “New York of old” are looking at their past with rose-tinted glasses. Is it better to walk by a transplanted New York couple with a stroller, or two native New Yorkers looking to mug you? Granted that most people living in New York in the 1970s were peaceful, law-abiding citizens, but the late Ed Koch would be the first to tell you that crime was much too high during his time as NYC Mayor from 1978-1989. I think, maybe, what people actually clamor for is a return to a more blue-collar, affordable New York, and I can’t dispute that the middle class in NYC is shrinking. As the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” widens, we could actually see a rise in the kind of desperate crime that classified 1970s New York, without the gritty, blue-collar picturesque undertones. That’s something all of us New Yorkers need to work together to avoid.
Take a look at these photos shot by Allan Tannenbaum that showcase not only how dirty New York was at the time (the woman in the penultimate photo is a prostitute, while the two in the last are not), but also how great the music scene was as evidenced by one his shots of The Ramones.
If you haven’t read Brave New World you should. I rank it high on my list of important visionary societal writings that predict, what I would call a “degradation of the freedom of thought” with other works like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451. I actually read Brave New World as a fourteen year-old one cold winter while confined to my house, recovering from a lacerated spleen. Although at the time, I didn’t fully understand the concept of how a society could slowly lose freedoms, not from war, but from things that would seemingly bring comfort in our lives (mind-numbing television as an example), I did understand that a society could lose the freedom of thought in other ways besides fear.
Huxley was a visionary and literary genius who stated in the 1950s that while he set the novel over 500 years into the future when writing in 1931, if he’d written it in the 1950s he’d have set the novel no more than 100 years into the future. His words become even more powerful when you realize that in the next ten years, people will find it virtually impossible to turn themselves off from the “virtual” world as it will meld so seamlessly with actual reality making it impossible to tune oneself out. Don’t believe me? I currently own two computers, an iPhone, an Apple TV, and more than one iPod and I know several people who own many more pieces of technology than I do. These pieces of technology aren’t marketed as necessary tools of the trade to the general public. They’re marketed as must-have gadgets which in truth, can slowly degrade a person’s social skills and remove their own comfort level when it comes to mentally unplugging from these devices. This in turn ensures that people are constantly are tuned in to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and whatever other social media is right around the corner. How many of you reading this who’s career revolves around a computer have found yourself saying something like “Jesus I need to turn this damn computer off and go do something.” I feel like that’s something I say to myself all the time. Self-awarness is the first step to ensuring that a Farenheit 451-like society won’t come to fruition. The problem is, a lot of these “tools” are marketed in a way that purposely makes you feel like you’re missing out if you’re not tuned in all the time.
Watch or listen to the interview Huxley gave in 1958 with Mike Wallace. Wallace called Huxley’s point of view “electric” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s time to unplug.
This DIY video has been floating around the internet for a few years, but I only recently stumbled upon it when researching how to perfectly cut glass. I’ve been interested in making glass lighting fixtures and found this tutorial to be very helpful. Check it out! Read More
French actor Jean Paul Belmondo made his name by starring in some of the most iconic French New Wave films of the 1960s. These photos also illustrate why he was considered one of the foremost male fashion icons of the time. Read More
The following is a very merry sponsored advertorial in conjunction with Jack Daniels.
The holidays are all about family, sharing, and caring. I’m pretty sure we all have our own heart-warming and unconventional holiday traditions. As much as I love decorating the tree, my favourite part of decorating for the holidays has always been getting to decorate the house. Poinsettias, red bows, nutcracker figurines, special holiday candles, indoor wreaths, tablecloths, and all kinds of holiday bric-a-brac have made their way into my family’s lexicon over the years. We even put up an huge ceramic Victorian Christmas village. It’s gotten so elaborate that a few years ago we had to lay out a grid system. There’s nothing that says “the holidays in New York” like a ceramic Victorian Christmas village with good city planning! That doesn’t even account for the ridiculous outdoor decorations we put up. No matter who you are, you can appreciate the sense of community and togetherness the holidays bring about.
The people who live in Lynchburg, Tennessee have their own giant outdoor decoration. Each year Jack Daniel’s brings the entire town together to construct a giant Christmas tree out of empty Jack Daniel’s distilling barrels. What’s more fun than constructing a giant Christmas tree in the middle of town? How about decorating it! The sense of pride and happiness felt by the people in Lynchburg is encapsulated in this glowing beauty of American hard work and ingenuity. It’s also a good excuse to do something everyone can enjoy. As the folks at Jack Daniel’s tell us, “We’ve always done things our way, and the holidays are no exception. Here at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery we’ve never been the type to follow the norm. That could be why our ‘tree’ is anything but traditional. Standing 26ft tall and made entirely of barrels, it’s a seasonal sign of good times, good friends and damn good whiskey. Despite its unconventional nature it has a way of drawing folks closer together, much like the spirit it once housed.”
Got your own happy unconventional holiday tradition? Jack Daniel’s would love to hear it! Share it with them at http://traditions.jackdaniels.com for a chance to win hundreds of prizes. Stories involving irresponsible drinking will be disqualified, so focus on the things that make you or your family completely unique. Think hard, we all have them, and I’m sure those memories will bring a smile to your face! Oh, and remember to celebrate joyfully and drink responsibly. Happy Holidays! Read More