The Disappearing Street Vendor Art of Mexico City


A food stand with hand-painted art (left), and after it was repainted by Cuauhtemoc officials (right). Photographer: Hugo Mendoza

From Bloomberg: David, a boy who had Down syndrome, died of Covid-19 last year. But he was remembered through a painted sign with a cartoon image and his name on his family’s taco stand in Mexico City. That is, until the local government had it erased.

The city’s Cuauhtemoc borough in April ordered the signs taken off of 1,493 street food stands, replacing them all with the same pattern of white paint and a blue-gray stripe, a large sticker or stencil with the local government’s logo, and a new slogan: “Cuauhtemoc Borough is Your Home.”

The move is one of several ways Mexico City’s streets are being drained of their color amid rising costs and a tourism boom, say activists. Lax Covid-19 restrictions helped propel Mexico City to the world’s 16th most visited tourist destination in 2021, behind Cancun at No. 2, according to travel data company ForwardKeys.

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How the Amusement Park Conquered America


The now-shuttered Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey as it appeared in its heyday. Photo by R. Gates/Archive Photos/Getty Images

From Bloomberg: In November 1965, Walt Disney gave a press conference in Florida. He announced his vision for the new amusement park and resort development he planned to build on an expanse of swampland twice the size of Manhattan near Orlando. Crucial to his project, Disney explained, would be his ability to have complete command over his surroundings.”

“That’s the one thing I learned from Disneyland — to control the environment,” said Disney, standing with his brother and company co-founder Roy Disney, and then-Florida Governor Haydon Burns.

Disneyland, Walt Disney’s first park, had been open for a decade at that point. Built on 165 acres of orange groves in Anaheim, California, the “Happiest Place on Earth” quickly proved — to Disney — insufficiently buffered from Southern California’s sprawl. The earthly clutter of motels and roadside pit stops, Disney felt, interfered with the spell the park sought to cast. With Disney World, he wanted to create something otherworldly — and beyond the reach of local regulations.

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This colorful neon-lit alley is Toronto’s favorite hidden futuristic selfie spot


Photo by Jack Landau

From blogTO: Like a setting ripped straight out of a dystopian cyberpunk science-fiction film, a Toronto alley’s illuminated mural has become a glowing beacon for selfie-takers and portrait photographers since first appearing along Eglinton Avenue East in 2019.

The massive art installation shines bright at 150 Eglinton East, a ten-storey office building a few blocks east of Yonge Street, and home to the restaurant La Latina.

It’s pretty hard to miss, the glowing installation rising six storeys along the building’s west facade and extending to the north through a pedestrian alley.

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Central Camera Reopens 122-Year-Old Loop Shop After 2020 Fire, Looting: ‘I’m So Happy This Place Is Still Here’


Central Camera, 230 S. Wabash Ave. Jen Sabella/ Block Club Chicago

From Block Club Chicago: DOWNTOWN — Don Flesch is known for passing out little snacks to his customers.

“Grab a chocolate,” Flesch reminds them on their way out.

Now, the 73-year-old is back in action behind the counter at Central Camera’s store, which reopened at 230 S. Wabash Ave. in March after being looted and burned down during 2020’s civil unrest after police murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis. First opened in 1899 by Flesch’s grandfather, the store attracts shoppers from around the world looking for unique camera finds and in-person service.

The May 2020 fire, which started in the basement, took about 30 firefighters and six hours to put out. Only about 50 items were salvageable out of the shop’s collection of 10,000 items.

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Bite Sized Eateries with Historic Flavor


Customers have frequented Fort Wayne’s Powers Hamburgers for slider-style burgers since 1940, when the diner opened in a tiny Art Deco building. Photo Lee Lewellen

From Indiana Landmarks: In Fort Wayne, North Salem, and Indianapolis, popular eateries serve up tasty experiences in small but memorable settings.

This year, George Motz, author of Hamburger America and a filmmaker The New York Times called the “foremost authority on hamburgers,” named Fort Wayne’s Powers Hamburgers as one of his top five places in the country to get a classic hamburger made just as they were a century ago. Locals, who have been flocking to the small Art Deco building on Harrison Street since 1940, would agree.

The Powers brothers—Leo, Clell, Harold, and Dale—started Powers Hamburgers in 1935 in Dearborn, Michigan, eventually expanding their burger dynasty into Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Though Fort Wayne once boasted three locations, today only the original 20-seat diner started by Leo Powers remains, the only restaurant from the original enterprise to still carry the Powers name. Diners sit at a small wrap-around counter with padded stools and order slider-style burgers from menu on the wall above.

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Is This Your Last Chance to ‘See Rock City’?


Clark Byers poses at the first Rock City barn, in Kimball, Tennessee, painted in the mid-1930s. Byers ultimately painted about 900 hundred barns with Rock City advertisements. SEE ROCK CITY

From Atlas Obscura: BEFORE “GOING VIRAL” WAS A good thing, the most successful advertising campaigns met customers where they were. For those with personal vehicles in the mid-twentieth century, that place was the American road. And among the most memorable billboards in the country in that era were those painted on the sides and roofs of barns through the South directing drivers to “See Rock City.”

The Rock City barns became almost as famous as the unusual landmark itself, not unlike the hand-painted billboards for ice water at Wall Drug that dot the upper Midwest or the mysterious The Thing signs that line I-10 through the Southwest. But due to a variety of factors from natural disasters and age to legislation and a lack of skilled sign painters, these slices of Americana are now at risk of disappearing entirely.

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