The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for March 26th, 2013

fainting and gasping

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hot Dog!

New York City sure is full of them.

Food carts are everywhere in the City these days, selling everything that’s bad for you. Sugary Soda Pop, high salt pretzels, even fatty waffles and doughnuts. Makes you wonder sometimes. Out here in Queens, our food carts do grilled chicken on a stick or shaved ice flavored with fresh squeezed. Only places I reliably see actual Hot Dog food carts seem to be around the places that Manhattan folks go- Shea Stadium Citifield or that big mall in Elmhurst.


You take Manhattan, we’ll take Queens Center – with hundreds of top retail names, a delectable food court and an easy-to-shop, easy-to-love vibe. If you want it, it’s probably here, from A to Z. Stores like American Eagle and Aldo to Baker’s Shoes, Bath and Body Works, Charlotte Russe, Club Monaco, Coach, The Disney Store all the way up the alphabet to Urban Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret and White House/Black Market. Factor in a huge H&M, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, JCPenney and more, and the Queens Center experience truly delivers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A principle of design which has been in vogue for much of my “career” in advertising and publishing has been “less is more.”

A somewhat decadent notion which was no doubt invented by Czech or German socialist tea drinkers, the theory dictates that graphic communication is best accomplished with as few elements and in as simple a manner and design as possible. Notice the violations of this in the shot above, wherein the words “Hot Dog” appear no less than seven distinct times.

from wikipedia

The term “dog” has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845. In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common. The suspicion that sausages contained dog meat was “occasionally justified”.

According to a myth, the use of the complete phrase “hot dog” in reference to sausage was coined by the newspaper cartoonist Thomas Aloysius “TAD” Dorgan around 1900 in a cartoon recording the sale of hot dogs during a New York Giants baseball game at the Polo Grounds. However, TAD’s earliest usage of “hot dog” was not in reference to a baseball game at the Polo Grounds, but to a bicycle race at Madison Square Garden, in The New York Evening Journal December 12, 1906, by which time the term “hot dog” in reference to sausage was already in use. In addition, no copy of the apocryphal cartoon has ever been found.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Hot Dog carts spend their days in Manhattan, of course, where they earn.

Just like the rest of us.

What most of the folks who partake in the salty cylinders of fat which are fired out of these weapons of commerce, and what they really don’t want to know, is where the carts are at night. Some stay in town, traveling uptown and toward the Hudson. Most head to Brooklyn and Queens. Many make a bee line to grimy warehouses along Northern Blvd., or Court Square in LIC, or to factory workshops and open air yards which adjoin that infamous exemplar of municipal neglect known simply and everlastingly as the Newtown Creek.

from wikipedia

The first food carts probably came into being at the time of the early Greek and Roman civilisations, with traders converting old hand-carts and smaller animal drawn carts into mobile trading units. Carts have the distinct advantage of being able to be moved should a location not be productive in sales, as well as transporting goods to/from storage to the place chosen from which to trade.

However, the use of carts exploded with the coming of the railways. Firstly, highly mobile customers required food and drink to keep them warm within the early open carriages. Secondly locomotives needed to stop regularly to take on coal and water, and hence allow their passengers use the toilets, eat and drink. Thirdly, few early trains had any form of buffet or dining car. Finally, when passengers did arrive at their destination, or at a point when they needed to switch trains or modes of transport, some refresehment was required, particularly for poorer passengers who could not afford to stay in the railway-owned hotels. This expansion lead to a mutually successful relationship, with some of the first concession stands and laws developing from mobile traders operating from restricted railway property. This form of concession based operation can be seen still in may countries, but at its most original in the under developed stations and infrastructure of Africa and South East Asia

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 26, 2013 at 12:15 am

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