In the era between the rise of Edison and the decline of downtown neon, American cities at night may have been the most beatiful urban centers in human history. Not because there was order or homogenity or the hand of a grand designer - you want that, go to a European city where long boulevards stretch out with identical streetlights, and everyone strolls through the cool, flattering shapes of Classical architecture. (I say flattering, because it's difficult not to think I am here, I inherited this, I appreciate it, I deserve it.) No, it was the riot that bloomed at sunset every night - often for no other reason than to carve out a hole in the black to announce the company's name to anyone who might happen by. There's so much art in these pictures, so much magic - when the sun was almost down, the skies painted pink and purple, and the streets were full of jostling, blinking, eye-catching signs, it was like a reward for the straightforward truth of noon. You've been good. You've worked. You've met your obligations. Now look at this, and come play.

Or bank, I suppose. Either works.

The first batch has about nine cards; more to come.

 

--Lileks

10.19.11