If you live in or have recently visited New York City, you've undoubtedly noticed that many of our ubiquitous yellow cabs are now adorned with color flowers.
The rumors about what's behind the decoration have ranged from the plausible ("a Banana Republic promotion") to the crazy ("a program allowing wealthy UES'ers to have a prettier view when they look down from their lofty apartments").
This is the logo that will soon appear on all New York City taxis. It will be rolled out over the next several months. It is an improvement over the current logo. But to me, the "NYC" lettering looks like it got smudged. And the overall logo – seven letters and three completely different design schemes – smacks of Design-By-Committee.
An article in today's Times discusses the new taxi logo, and presents some possible options that were not used. The version below is loud, but I love it. It's totally New York. Thoughts?
Today I drove 300 miles through the heart of the Midwest. My brother, nephew and I headed south on I-55, leaving the glorious architecture of Chicago quickly behind. Soon, we were speeding by mile after mile of corn and soy. Let's just say that I was really glad that Jeremy (now 6 years old) brought along Mary Poppins and the complete Schoolhouse Rock collection.
Nothing makes me chuckle more than the crazily bland names of towns in middle-of-nowhere Midwest. As evidence, the center-point of our Chicago-St. Louis drive was Normal, Illinois (town slogan: "Committed to Service Excellence").
Normal is but one of many Midwestern towns with very basic names. The sign above (snapped as we pulled over for a potty break) is evidence of two more. Still, I'm happy with this return to simplicity. It smells like my youth, it's 90+ degrees, and the memories are flowing free.
I arrived in Chicago today for a weekend with old friends and brothers Ed, Richard, Daniel and families.
Before heading off to the festivities, I am going to share with you an absolutely brilliant, totally indispensable tip.
If you have ever rented a car, you know the frustration of pulling up to the pump and realizing you don't know WHICH SIDE THE TANK IS ON. True, this is a only a minor frustration. But given that most people choose the wrong side 100% of the time, it's a frustration that cannot be ignored.
Have no fear, Upright & Stowed is here! The picture above is the gas indicator on my current rental car. Do you see the little arrow pointing to the right, just next o the fuel pump icon? Guess what the arrow indicates? Yes! It means that the fuel tank is on the right. No guesswork required. You'll find this on virtually every rental car.
So there ya go. One small irritation removed from your life. Now go and have a great weekend.
Renting a car can be one of the most frustrating parts of travel. If you get stuck waiting in line to rent or return a car, you might wonder if the Digital Revolution ever occurred.
Today, I was pleasantly surprised by my car rental experience. I flew from SFO to LAX, and headed to the Alamo area by shuttle bus (never fun). I am not an Alamo frequent renter, so I was prepared for the worst.
Imagine my surprise when I came across this colorful row of kiosks. I swiped my credit card, scanned my New York State driver's license, and one minute later was off to select my car from a row of spiffy Compacts. I smiled all the way as I drove to my $130, Priceline-secured suite-with-Pacific-View at the InterContinental. Car renting has arrived. And I am a newly devoted Alamo man!
A couple weeks ago I was invited by my
friend Sean to spend the night in Milford, PA at the Hotel Fauchere. Sean has spent the past 5 years renovating this 1880 building, and it is a stunner. It also makes for an insanely romantic weekend getaway. This photo is of the Fauchere Family, on the hotel lawn sometime a couple centuries back.
Milford, PA sits at the north entrance of the Delaware Water Gap, a region of spectacular beauty near the PA, NY and NJ borders. It is a short drive (under two hours) from New York, and slightly closer (or farther) from Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore and many other east coast metropolitan areas.
The point is, if you are looking for an incredible weekend getaway this fall, you should consider this rich and historical region. Let me know if you decide to go. I'll tip 'em off to your arrival.
God I love the internet. I actually found a website that has an Interstate Shield Gallery with at least one photo of every single interstate highway number in the country. This photo was taken by a random stranger about 0.25 miles from the house I in which I grew up. It's amazing how a highway sign can say "Home."
Lest I begin to bore you with Interstate facts, I'll end this series with two need-to-know items for any highway buff.
1. The Highest Point on our national highway system: The Eisenhower Tunnel (I-70) in Colorado, measuring in 11,191 feet above sea level. My dad and step-mom lived in Vail, Colorado from 1976-ish to 1990, so I've pasased through the tunnel about 100 times.
2. The Lowest Point (excluding under-water tunnels) is on I-8 near El Centro in California's Imperial Valley, measuring 47 feet below sea level.
A couple other things. My comment in yesterday's post about highway Rest Stops was said to be written mostly for the gays. However one of my Blue Haired readers shouted "discrimination," noting that Rest Stops are equally important to Seniors. Correction noted, and made.
Finally, the answer to yesterday's trivia question: Which U.S. President is considered the guiding force of the Interstate Highway System?
Answer: Dwight D. Eisenhower. I was born on December 6, 1960. JFK was sworn in as President on January 20, 1961, 45 days later. This must explain my highway fascination.
This incredibly cute picture of you-know-who was taken you-know-where. The closest Interstate Highway is I-90. Leave it to Wikipedia to have a boatload of facts about I-90.
Today we continue our exploration of America's amazing Interstate Highway System. Which we can barely afford to drive on these days. Away we go.
Did you know that our Interstate Highway System passes directly through all but five U.S. state capitals? Well now you do. The ones that it misses are Juneau, AK, Dover, DE, Carson City, NV, Pierre, SD and the most important state capital of all (drumroll) Jefferson City, MO.
Since many of my readers are New Yorkers, I know they'll be fascinated to know that a portion of the Grand Central Parkway in Queens was actually opened to traffic in 1936, and incorporated into the Interstate System – as I-278 – much later. This makes it one of the very oldest sections of the system, which did not begin construction until 1958.
And since many of my readers are gay, I thought it critical to note that the exact number of Rest Areas is not currently known, but that in 1972, there were 1,214.
Yesterday's Trivia Question: Which state has the most Interstate Highway mileage? Answer: Texas, with 3,223 miles. Followed by California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Today's Trivia Question (answer tomorrow): Which U.S. President is considered the guiding force of the Interstate Highway System? [terrifying hint: He was President the day I was born.]
This is a map of the U.S. Interstate Highway System – a 46,726 mile marvel of engineering.
Record high gas prices have dampened everyone's enthusiasm about a vacation requiring long stretches of driving. But summer is approaching, and we all live within an affordable distance of somewhere amazing made accessible by this incredible – and often breathtaking – highway system.
This week Upright & Stowed is devoted to fascinating trivia about the Interstate Highway system. Indulge my obsession. You'll like it.
Today's Trivia Question (answer tomorrow): Which state has the most Interstate Highway mileage?
Today's Trivia Facts: Transcontinental routes and lengths
East-West Transcontinental Routes: I-10 Los Angeles, CA to Jacksonville, FL 2,460.34 miles I-80 San Francisco, CA to Teaneck, NJ 2,899.54 miles I-90 Seattle, WA to Boston, MA 3,020.54 miles
North-South Transcontinental Routes: I-5 San Diego, CA to Blaine, WA 1,381.29 miles I-15 San Diego, CA to Sweetgrass, MT 1,433.52 miles I-35 Laredo, TX to Duluth, MN 1,568.38 miles I-55 New Orleans, LA to Chicago, IL 964.25 miles I-65 Mobile, AL to Gary, IN 887.30 miles I-75 Miami, FL to Sault Ste Marie, MI 1,786.47 miles I-95 Miami, FL to Houlton, ME 1,919.74 miles