The Loss of Doo Wop Motels in Wildwood Is a Deeper Mystery Than Previously Thought


A vintage postcard of the Tahiti Motel in the Wildwoods. Kitschy neon signs and Polynesian-themed decor are two of the features of Doo Wop architecture.

From Jersey Digs: Two decades ago, there was a sudden rediscovery of “Doo Wop” motels in the Wildwoods. These futuristic- and island-themed accommodations were frozen in time from an era when singers like Chubby Checkers, Frankie Valli, and the Supremes crooned at local clubs.

But at the same time tourists were falling in love again with these kitschy designs, came a real estate boom that endangered them with demolition. A wave of teardowns erased about 200 of these motels, and preservationists had all but given up on establishing a historic district dedicated to this quirky decade in architecture. Now, a new generation of historians is determined to save what remains.

“We are trying to pick up the pieces and figure out a preservation strategy that works,” said Taylor Henry, chairperson of Preserving the Wildwoods.

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William Eggleston’s Back-Roads Beauty


William Eggleston / © Eggleston Artistic Trust

From Garden & Gun: Last year, the photographer William Eggleston’s sons sifted through a trove of their living-legend father’s slides. “As we reviewed the five and a half thousand Kodachromes, Dad would come in and out of the studio,” writes William Eggleston III in the introduction to The Outlands (Steidl), a gorgeous new three-volume collection of hundreds of previously unpublished photographs that trace a journey from suburban Memphis to back-roads Mississippi in the sixties and seventies. 

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Marquee set to go up at Rome Capitol Theatre


GOING UP IN LIGHTS — A portion of the Capitol Theatre’s new marquee is prepared for installation on Monday. The marquee will be a beacon for the city’s growing arts district, according to the Capitol’s Executive Director Art Pierce. Photo courtesy Capitol Theatre/Rick E. Lewis

From The Rome Sentinel: Rome Capitol Theatre, without a marquee since 1977, will have a newly fabricated marquee installed on the facade of the building, with work beginning today.

A project that has been in the works since 2002, the Capitol Theatre marquee and blade sign will be installed in two phases — first the marquee itself (the lower portion of the structure), starting today, followed by the vertical “blade,” which will follow a week later.

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How TGI Fridays went from a singles bar to a diner in decline


From Business Insider: When founder Alan Stillman opened the first TGI Fridays in New York City’s Upper East Side in 1965, his aim was to meet a lot of single women. His timing was perfect, as the city was increasingly full of working women looking for a place to meet friends and pick up dates.

TGI Fridays rode the wave of sexual revolution and became a favorite among single people everywhere in the US as it expanded. But by the mid-1970s, the era of singles bars was coming to an end, and under the leadership of Daniel R. Scoggin, the chain evolved into a place where families could dine together.

By the early 2000s, TGI Fridays had expanded across the US and internationally as part of the hospitality group Carlson. But after the 2008 financial crisis, sales in the restaurant industry started dipping, and in the following decade, TGI Fridays closed more than 200 restaurants in the US. In 2020, plans to take the chain public were pulled as the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the restaurant industry.

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Jersey City’s White Mana: A Local Gem Built for the 1939 World’s Fair


Photo credit: @WhiteManaDiner

From The Hoboken Girl: In today’s increasingly diversifying food scene, there are few things as unifying as a burger. Among thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of burger joints around the country, there are few as famous as White Mana located at 470 Tonnele Avenue in Jersey City. The Food Network and many other big-name media outlets and celebrities have visited, as this quirky little diner captured the American imagination not only because of its extraordinary history — but the burgers, too. 

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‘Ghost Signs’ Haunt London’s Reviving Neighborhoods


A sign in the borough of Stoke Newington in Northeast London advertises Cakebread Robey & Co, a builders’ merchant and ironmonger known for its fine stained glass, some of which still survives across North London. Photographer: Roy Reed

From Bloomberg City Lab: Hundreds of hand-painted signs endure in parts of the U.K. capital, marking the city’s 19th century boom. But many of these advertising artifacts are fading fast. 

Study the buildings flanking London’s older streets closely and you’ll see one soon enough: an old painted sign that, once bright and eye-catching, is now faded into the masonry, the name of the business or product it promoted flaking and faint.

Such “ghost signs” are fixtures of older neighborhoods in many cities around the world, but the U.K. capital, which bustled with competing commercial enterprises in the 19th and early 20th centuries, is unusually well-supplied with them. Ghost signs aren’t always easy to spot, but for sharp-eyed passersby and enthusiasts of urban history, they add an extra dimension to London’s appearance, their florid Victorian or cheerful art deco script and images a spectral reminder that once, not that long ago, these were somebody else’s streets.

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