This week, Adam Gopnik, New Yorker writer and father of Charlie Ravioli's good friend, rants about the new oversized signs hanging above certain streets. A friend had noted to Gothamist months ago that the signs were awful, perhaps a further sign that New York was now Disneyland. We pooh-poohed it, thinking that the signs would be helpful when you're in a drunken haze; plus, we were on a "Isn't 311 super?" soliloquy, feeling positive about civic advances. Well, friend, after reading Gopnik's piece, you could be right. See, Gopnik hates the signs. He really, really, really, really, hates them:
The new signs put you immediately in mind of those nightmarish car trips in Los Angeles, where you begin somewhere and, forty-five minutes later, you are somewhere else, and all the while you have been looking for a big sign that reads “Pico.” Worse than merely unfamiliar, though, the signs are infuriating—first, because they are there for the convenience of cars, and thus violate the first Law of Civilization, which states that nothing must ever be done for the convenience of cars (the mark of a city worth living in is that there are never enough places to park); and, second, because they eclipse, as décor, the jaunty, jazz-era syncopation of the classic New York street-corner sign pair, each sign gesturing toward its own street, but with the two set at slightly different levels, so that they have a happy, semaphoric panache.
And he ends the piece with "If you don’t know where you are, you don’t deserve to be here." So there! And Gothamist is actually fond of giving directions to people who ask for them, even if they are yelling from a car.
Photo by Paul Downey