Lost Tracks

A streetcar fan’s photo album is a window opening on the vanished workaday beauty of Downtown

HOW ODD THAT THE STREETCAR, THANKS TO STAGE and song, should be associated with woozy precincts of Desire and the romantic coup de foudre , that moment when it’s grand just to stand with your hand holding that of your just met hut consenting fellow passenger. A second’s thought makes you realize that your imagination has boarded the wrong vehicle.

 
 
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America’s Cities Are (mostly) Better Than Ever

Today’s city, for all its ills, is “cleaner, less crowded, safer, and more livable than its turn-of-the-century counterpart,” argues this eminent urban historian. Yet two new problems are potentially fatal.

More than a decade ago the phrase “urban crisis” crept into our public conversation. Since then it has become a cliché, connoting a wide range of persistent and dangerous problems confronting our cities. Moreover, the phrase, like “missile crisis” or “energy crisis,” suggests both newness and immediate danger. The rioting, arson, and looting that erupted in the 1960’s fortified this general impression. Presumably something unprecedented had happened.Read more »