Sorry to kick off the day with a non-uni item, but we’ve had a major, major development on the Candela front and I’m all super-excited about it, so you’re just gonna have to bear with me.
As those of you who’ve followed the Candela project may recall, one of the big mysteries we’ve never been able to solve is that there were three structures produced for the 1964 World’s Fair but only two of them remain (further details on that here). Despite considerable research on a variety of fronts, Kirsten and I were never able to find out why the third one was removed or what happened to it.
Now, thanks to an unlikely chain of events, I’m happy to report that the third structure is alive and well up in the Adirondacks, where it has spent the past 40-plus years serving as a rather eccentric summer cabin for an upstate family. That family recently became aware of our web site and contacted us. We’re still piecing together the full story (the family member who acquired the structure back in the 1960s is no longer living, so some details are a little murky), but the short version is that the family won the structure at an auction held after the Fair’s conclusion. It’s not yet clear why the structure was auctioned off, or why the other two structures were kept on the site, but we hope to connect as many of those dots as possible as we continue to communicate with the family. We also hope to visit the structure in person.
We are SO excited about all of this! After spending the better part of a year researching and working on the exhibit, and then having more than another year go by without solving any of the lingering mysteries about the structures, it is SUPER-satisfying to have a major breakthrough like this. I don’t usually type “Hooray!” in a non-ironic context, but I’m gonna do it this time: Hooray!
More details soon.
(Doubleplusthanks to Kirsten for the animation.)
Another non-uni item: It isn’t often that you throw a party for a bathroom fixture. But the porcelain urinals in the men’s room at Old Town — one of Manhattan’s most venerable watering holes — are no ordinary piss pots. Monolithic, majestic, seemingly eternal, they’re among the most magnificent rest stops in the city, a place where you can actually admire the setting while relieving your bladder. And on Monday night the urinals — or the Hinsdales, as they’re often called, after their manufacturer — turned exactly 100 years old.
The Old Town crowd wasn’t about to let a urinal centennial go by without a party. And so plans were made, posters were printed, and articles were written, all of which was perfectly in keeping with the enormity of the occasion.
Some friends and I went down partake of the festivities, and it was about the best party for a pair of urinals you ever saw. Nobody should have to work on their birthday, so the Hinsdales were given the night off (everyone had to use the facilities on the second floor) and the men’s room was gussied up so people could look in and pay their respects. That included the many women in attendance, who were given a rare peek at the shrine of porcelain privilege.
A few people made speeches (including former Sports Illustrated scribe Steve Rushin, whose recent novel, Pint Man, is about a fictional bar very much like Old Town), but the best part was when Old Town owner Gerard Meagher and a few of his cohorts read a list of famous people who’d bellied up to the Hinsdales over the years. It was an impressive litany, even if the solemnity of the moment was briefly broken when people hissed at the mention of Rudy Giuliani’s name.
I first got acquainted with Old Town back in 1987. I’d just moved to NYC and gotten my first job — an entry-level publishing gig in Manhattan — and was looking for a decent place to get a burger for lunch. I randomly walked a block east from our offices, and say, what have we here? A battered neon sign, a tile floor, and a long dark-wood bar — my kinda place. The burger was swell, but what really impressed me on that very first day, I kid you not, were the Hinsdales. “They don’t make ’em like that anymore,” I said to my girlfriend later that evening when I got home. The place soon became one of my regular hangouts.
Twenty-three years later, Old Town has barely changed at all, which is as it should be. As for the urinals, I assume they’ve been worn down a micron or two by the incessant stream of ammonia-laden excretions (I’ve certainly contributed my share over the years), but they appear to be as indestructible and timeless as ever. That’s as it should be too. Here’s to the next 100 years.
Yet another non-uni item: Back in July, an acquaintance of mine named Ken Kurson posted this Facebook item about an ice cream shop next door to a jerk chicken/pork joint in Paterson, New Jersey (I took a screen shot of it because I know some of you can’t access Facebook at work). “I am hoping that Paul Lukas will visit this dual operation and write about it because no one else could do it justice,” he wrote.
Now, Ken didn’t know this, but I speak fairly fluent Paterson. That’s the same town where I go bowling (and not because of the joint’s name, although that’s a nice bonus), plus it’s home to Hinchliffe Stadium, the crumbling Negro Leagues ballpark that I wrote about a few months back.
But in all my meanderings around Paterson, I’d never come across this ice cream shop. So last Friday I grabbed Kirsten and headed Paterson-ward.
It’s always fun to start with dessert, so our first stop was Guernsey Crest Ice Cream. It turned out to be housed in an utterly nondescript building with two gorgeous old signs plus a very cool-looking flavor rundown. Inside, the operative word was bulletproof, although the staff was plenty friendly. I got a butter pecan cone, and I wish I could say it was great, but honestly it was just OK. Still, it was ice cream, so how bad could it be?
While ordering our ice cream, we’d noticed a flier for the jerk chicken place on the wall. But when we went to the appointed address, it was a beauty salon, not a restaurant. So we sort of peered around the nearby buildings until we finally spotted it: a back-yard setup with a homemade sign.
Nobody was around, so I called the number and got someone whose first language clearly was not English — that went nowhere. Frustrated but determined, we went back to Guernsey Crest and said, “What’s the deal with the jerk chicken place?” Everyone laughed, and then the owner — a great guy named Kevin, who later told us he’s the grandson of Guernsey Crest’s founder — got on the phone, yelled a few things into the receiver, and then told us “He’ll be out in a little bit. You can wait here if you want.”
A little while later, a Jamaican guy walked over with an aluminum tray. Inside was a serving of jerk chicken and festival. We began eating in my car and had just about finished it when the guy came back with a second portion. He asked for $12, which seemed like a very fair price. Then he said we should come back next week, when he’d have some some goat’s head soup. We said we’d be sure to stop by. Then he tried to sell me “some very good white rum, mon.” I told him we’d wait until we could pair it with the soup. Then we finished our chicken and headed off on our way.
On the way to Guernsey Crest, we’d passed a hot dog joint in a part of town I hadn’t seen before. We were totally stuffed with ice cream and chicken, but I wanted to take a peek inside anyway. Once I saw this sign on the wall, it became impossible not to order a dog, so I got one Texas hot, all the way. While I struggled to finish it, Kirsten indulged her fascination with this sign.
Our next stop was supposed to be Paul’s Bar & Bowling, but there was also a candy shop we wanted to check out, and we realized that it might soon be closing for the day, so off we went to Krause’s candy, where the house specialty is chocolate-covered strawberries. We also got a bunch of other stuff but I was too full to eat most of it until the next day.
Never did get to bowl (by the time we were ready, league night had started), and my usual post-Paterson hot dog at Rutt’s Hut was out of the question, but it was still a really fun day of foodventuring.
Actual uni-related content, imagine that: The Blazers are adding a memorial patch for Maurice Lucas. … I just bought this very nice varsity jacket. More photos when I receive it from the seller. … New Kansas women’s hoops uniforms have drop-down NOBs (as noted by Matt Strauss). … “This is the best custom lacrosse helmet I’ve ever seen,” says Jeff Brunelle. … Maybe the Brewers and others would kick the untucked habit if their equipment managers followed this advice (great find by Hugh McBride). … Ben Isaacs reports that FIFA is launching its own clothing line. … Here’s a rare sight: a Packer wearing white at Lambeau (cool find by Tom Farley). … New hoops uniforms for Rhode Island (with thanks to Tim O’Brien). … Nike’s Amateur Tranquility program is apparently headed north of the border. That news comes from Moe Khan, who writes: “Over the weekend, I was doing CIS (Canadian University Football) colour commentary of the Concordia/Laval game. After the match, I was talking to one of the Rouge et Or players. He told me Nike was going to unveil a Combat uniform for the school this season but will now delay the process until next season.” … Here’s another example of a baseball jersey witih UCLA stripes. That’s Jordon Banfield‘s traveling team. I vastly prefer their white design — very nice (but would it kill those kids to smile?). … Another wrinkle to the Wounded Warrior Project: Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville will be wearing combat boots on the sideline this weekend. Details and a photo here (with thanks to Scott Fitzgerald). … Yesterday I suggested that the Giants should wear this uniform next season. Turns out Andrew Dailey had already created a Facebook page devoted to that very idea. … Matt Aballi recently started a blog about baseball caps. … If you live in Quebec, you can enter a contest to design Carey Price’s mask (with thanks to Adrian Newman). … A lot of us like the Pats’ red throwbacks. But a bunch of folks say, “Yeah, but that doesn’t make any sense, because the Brits wore red during the Revolutionary War!” So Phil came up with this, which I think is a serious winner. And then he figured that if the Pats had originally blue instead of red, how about if the Bills had been red instead of blue? … Scott Turner has dawn my attention to this book about 1970s baseball and its accompanying blog. Only problem: that goddamn apostrophe catastrophe on the cover. … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Thornton Township High in Illinois has the weirdest shoulder “stripes” I’ve ever seen. Like, are those continuous UCLA stripes interrupted by a yoke, or are they separate little ornamentations, or what? … There are some really good vintage Durene jerseys, varsity jackets, letterman sweaters, and so on — all of it ridiculously overpriced, to the point where I was literally laughing out loud — at this East Village shop. You can’t afford any of this stuff (or if you can, you should be taking me out to dinner more often), but it’s still a worthwhile stop if you treat it like a tiny museum or gallery where you get to fondle the art. Recommended. … Check out this jersey. If you click on the second photo, you’ll there are two rather large initials where the NOB would normally be. That’s a new one on me. … And while we’re at it, look at this — TV letters instead of numbers! … Here’s a major find: a genuine Hollywood Stars uni. Not quite as cool as the one with the shorts, but still. … New basketball uniforms for Notre Dame (with thanks to Jack Quinn). … Awesome job by The Jeff, who colorized one of the wire photos from yesterday. I think that may be the best colorization job we’ve had on the site so far. … Hey Terry Proctor, ever seen this tag design? … Here’s something you don’t often see: a chain-stitched depiction of a bike rack. … Lots of rumors about Iowa State supposedly going with a gold alternate jersey this weekend. That’s just a mock-up, not the real deal, and it also isn’t clear whether they’d actually wear gold pants with the gold jersey. … Here’s a first: a rodeo-style hockey jersey (with thanks to Craig Balogh). … Why do color vs. color when you can go all the way and do monochrome vs. monochrome? That’s Mater Dei and Servite, both from California (with thanks to Terry Duroncelet). … More and more runners are running barefoot.
Looking ahead: I’ll be dealing with some family stuff today, so be nice to Phil while I’m gone. Meanwhile, I have something really great lined up for tomorrow, and I promise it has nothing to do with urinals or ice cream. Thanks for your indulgence.