One of the many mysterious Toynbee Tiles. This one was seen stuck to the street in Atlantic City, New Jersey, near the Forever 21 outlet store.
The tiles are cut from linoleum and stuck to the road surface. The words consistently refer to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, resurrection, and Jupiter.
They are found in and around Philadelphia, in New Jersey, and in many other cities primarily along the Boston-Washington D.C. axis, but also as far away as Santiago, Chile. The original ones, first sighted in the 1980s, were likely the work of one individual, but new ones (probably including the one above) that have appeared in the last few years probably have been placed by copycats.
While many Toynbee tiles have been destroyed or covered over by road repaving, one government group, the Philadelphia Streets Department, at least made an effort to preserve some of them . Are they worthy of preservation? If you peel up ephemeral street art and put in a museum, is it still ephemeral street art? As the original Toynbee Tiles are threatened with extinction in the wild, they may live forever, if not on Jupiter, at least in cyberspace.
Sticking with the 90s Volkswagen theme for a bit longer, 1997, in addition to the Trek Bike joint venture, was also the year VW marketing scored with a commercial for the Golf that polished off the early 80s song Da Da Da (full title: Da Da Da, ich lieb’ dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha), by the band Trio.
…in the coldest months, when the ice is thickest, some venture beneath the ice to gather mussels. Every two weeks the pull of the moon combines with the geography of this region to create unusually large tides. The water falls as much as 55 feet in some places, emptying the bay under the ice along the shore for an hour or more. That’s when some Inuit climb aboard their snowmobiles and head out onto the bay.
Craig S. Smith writes in the New York Times about how people in Northern Quebec venture under the ice to gather mussels. Photos by Aaron Vincent Elkaim.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles in Salem, New Jersey, are having their first ever Wild Beaver Dinner. The beavers are trapped in South Jersey, butchered, soaked in salt water, and slow-cooked for six hours. Beaver has been served by the FOE with other species as part of their wild game dinners in the past, but at this dinner, beavers get the spotlight to themselves.
On the corner of Mason Avenue in the bayside town of Cape Charles, Virginia, is this abandoned Pure Oil gas station. Pure Oil designed these cottage-like filling stations in the late 1920s, and variations on this theme were constructed for several decades. This shows the design at its most simple form. The station still has the original “Pure Oil Blue” roof and most of its original features (compare it with the two historic photos from Pennsylvania and New York below). The three-bay garage on the side is likely a later addition.
Carl August Petersen created this Tudor Revival/English Cottage design in 1927 with the goal of presenting their Pure Oil as a safe, clean, and welcoming place to get gasoline. The standardized design also served to identify their brand to consumers, no matter where they were traveling.
The Pure Oil company was bought by Union Oil in the 1960s, and by the early 1970s, Pure Oil gas stations were rebadged as Union 76 stations. The Mason Avenue station remained in use as a gas station until fairly recently. A second Pure Oil building survives on the outskirts of Cape Charles. Many other Pure Oil stations have been repurposed into restaurants or for other uses, and several have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including a 1937 station in Geneva, Illinois. More examples can be seen at RoadsideArchitecture.