Paint Schoodic

We're offering four workshops for 2020, at Acadia National Park, Pecos, NM, Tallahassee, FL, and aboard the schooner American Eagle.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Get your hands off our trashy landmark

You call that a highway? We call it a theme park. (Photo by Jim Henderson)
The Obama Administration has told the City of New York that Times Square is in violation of the 1965 Federal Highway Beautification Act. Its iconic signage has to come down or the city will forfeit some $90 million a year in Federal highway funds.

It is probably not a coincidence that this is happening during the funeral of 25-year-old NYPD officer Brian Moore. His death undermines the cop-brutality narrative, and the powers-that-be probably want us thinking about other things. Among the flash at Times Square is the iconic neon police station, beloved of tourists. I suppose that, too, is in violation of Lady Bird's Bill.

The NYPD are having a rough week. Let's not let the kerfuffle over Times Square distract us from that.
Reaction in New York has, predictably, ranged from mockery to ridicule.

“It's about time!” my own husband exclaimed. “Every time I'm pulling the Airstream through Times Square behind my '65 Buick Roadmaster, I complain that I can't see the trees and cows because of those darn signs!”

Times Square in 1898. As tacky as non-electric signs could make it.
“I could plotz,” another friend texted, ramping up her New York accent for the occasion.

Someone else said (as someone always will) that she liked it better before it was cleaned up. Well, I hated it then and I hate it now. I'm an equal-opportunity hater.

I’m not unusual in that. It’s there for visitors. But like all theme parks, its economic impact is huge—greater than the $90 million penalty the Feds are threatening.

Times Square on V-J Day.
For a hundred years, Times Square has been one of America’s most-recognized landmarks. Oddly enough, in another way, it’s completely anodyne—all the same stores as, for example, Piccadilly Circus in London. But as trashy, tacky and predictable as it is, it’s our trashy, tacky landmark. The Feds can just go annoy some other highway.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in August 2015. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.

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