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July 2004

1929: Flying Blind

75 Years Ago 

On September 24 Lt. Jimmy Doolittle made the world’s first completely “blind” flight—taking off, flying a prescribed course, and landing on instruments only. He was in a Consolidated NY-2 “Husky” biplane with two cockpits. Doolittle flew it from the rear cockpit, which was covered in canvas so that he could not see out. In the front cockpit was a safety pilot, Lt. Ben Kelsey, who could take over if necessary. Kelsey held his hands in the air during the flight to show that Doolittle was controlling the plane.

Helluva Town

Why do they usually avoid holding conventions in New York?

This summer marks a sea change in the traditions of American party politics. For the first time the Democratic National Convention will be held in Boston, and the Republican National Convention will be held in that great Babylon, that hole of sin and abomination, New York City.

Grand Motel

The mid-1970s Holiday Inn slogan, “The best surprise is no surprise,” may have reflected a comforting predictability in road travel, but it also signaled a decline in one of its greatest pleasures: being in a place very different from home. Before long, backlit plastic replaced the Holiday Inn’s exuberantly tacky “Great Sign,” and another roadside icon transformed itself into an interchangeable component of a nationwide neighborhood. In Duluth, Georgia, a prototype Holiday Inn has begun an impressive effort to reclaim the sprightly spirit radiated by the original sign.

Letter From The Editor: Anniversary

September 11, 2001, was my daughter’s first day of kindergarten—a new school a long subway ride up the spine of Manhattan. Rebecca’s inaugural school day consisted of half an hour meeting other children, followed by a four-hour walk home. When the school opened again, her teacher told me, “She’s going to build something. Just watch—they’re all going to be building things.”

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