Americana | A Continuous Lean.

Revisiting the Austin Speed Shop.

Aug 6th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Austin, Autos | by Michael Williams

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While in Texas for the Cadillac ATS-V adventures I took some time to cruise over to see my old friends at the Austin Speed Shop. Always welcoming and unpretentious —even when I show up unannounced— the guys at the Speed Shop are always open to showing me around and letting me checking things out. It’s a testament to their collective chill. It sort of reminds me of when I am traveling and I find a cool store that could be interesting to highlight on the site. At lot of times people who don’t know me will tell me “no pictures”. Though interestingly, 99% of the guys with the coolest, best merchandised places will always say yes and give me unlimited access to take as many photos as I would like. I think this goes back to confidence in what they do. Like the Speed Shop, they know what they do is unique enough that a few pictures won’t instantly become a facsimile in some other place.

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‘A Liking for the Sea’ | JFK and the USCG Eagle

Jul 21st, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Jared Paul Stern | by Jared Paul Stern


A majestic sight greeted visitors to Portland, Maine’s waterfront the other day: the only active commissioned sailing vessel in American military service. The 295-ft. USCG Eagle, used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard, visited the city as part of the Tall Ships Portland Festival. The ship has a rather interesting history. Built as the German training vessel Horst Wessel in 1936, Adolf Hitler presided at its launch and once used living quarters aboard ship. It served to train German sailors in sail techniques until decommissioned at the start of World War II, then was re-commissioned in 1942 fitted with anti-aircraft guns. At the end of the conflict it was taken by the U.S. as part of war reparations and re-christened Eagle.


Living Vicariously Through Other People’s Junk.

Apr 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Antiques, Art, Books, Brimfield | by ACL Editors


With her stomping cowboy boots, men’s riding jackets, and worn-in leather vests, Mary Randolph Carter doesn’t dress like any executive we’ve ever met. And yet, since 1988, Carter has been a creative director and executive at Ralph Lauren, following stints as an editor at Self, Mademoiselle, and New York Magazine.

On the Ralph Lauren spectrum, Carter is more RRL than Polo. In fact we’d even take it one step further and say that Carter’s aesthetic is really closer to Polo Country, the now defunct precursor to RRL which was more South, than Southwest. Carter is well-known (possibly even more so than for her association to RL) as a collector of what she calls “junk,” but what would more kindly be described as folksy flea market collectibles. It’s this widely documented collection which has made Carter a legend in her own right, as everyone from The Washington Post, to The New York Times, to The Selby has explored Carter’s massive collection of rusty signs, hand-painted family portraits, curling photographs, yellowing books, Lady of Guadalupe bracelets, and just about every other obscure knick-knack imaginable.

Opening the Door on New York’s Private Clubs.

Mar 9th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, New York City | by ACL Editors


“Hey, I wonder what’s behind that door?”

It’s a question that most New Yorker’s ask themselves countless times, almost subconsciously, as they wander through the city each day. These doorways certainly intrigue us, but in the end, we only ever step into maybe one percent of the buildings that we pass by in this city. All those other thresholds are off-limits, leaving us to quietly wonder what lies behind that door. And few of these buildings stoke our imaginations quite like New York’s many private clubs. That word, private, says it all.

New York has a long tradition of clandestine clubs that are designed to keep outsiders at bay. It’s who these clubs do choose to let in, though which distinguishes them from one another. Each different club may appeal more to artists, or authors, or politicians, or city planners, depending on their charters, but they all genuinely share one common characteristic: wealth. Let’s face it, these clubs are not for us (that is unless you happen to be a high-society millionaire whose great-great-great-great-great-grandparents arrived on these shores via the Mayflower) to enter, they are for us to ogle at from the outside. So join us for a look, but don’t touch, guide to NYC’s social clubs, because this is the closest we may ever get to knowing what actually goes on behind these doors.

Kubrick the Kid Captures the City

Feb 19th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, New York City | by Jake Gallagher


Long before Stanley Kubrick became the revered auteur responsible for films like A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket, he was just a kid with a camera. And he truly was a kid. Kubrick was just seventeen when was hired as a staff photographer by the now defunct Look Magazine. As a native of the Bronx, Kubrick was a keen observer of the intricacies of the city, and throughout his five year career behind the lens, he portrayed the ins and outs of ordinary life in New York. From clubs to classrooms, from street corners to circuses, from boxing rings to bars, Kubrick shot society at all levels, capturing the collective frenzy of New York City in the late 1940’s. Below are just a smattering of the more than fifteen thousand images which Kubrick amassed from 1945 to 1950, but all of them can be found online at the website of the Museum of the City of New York.


Iconic Campaign Buttons of Yore.

Feb 14th, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher


While, it’s not our place to wax on about the ways in which our country’s political rhetoric has changed, we would like to reminisce on the lost art of the campaign button. Unlike the gaudy and contrived pins of contemporary campaigns, classic buttons were crisp, clear, and generally just far more iconic. Some of them are bold, like Ike’s countless punchy slogans (he must’ve had quite the copywriting team) while some of them just seem absurd, as in Edmun Muskie’s fishing pin, but they’re all worth remembering, even if the candidate was not.



A Whale of a Boat.

Jan 23rd, 2015 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Obsessions, Outdoors | by Jake Gallagher


On a recent episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld rolled around Montauk while interviewing Jimmy Fallon. The episode featured a whole lot of star power for one small web short (not to mention one very tiny car) but both celebrities still managed to get upstaged by the unlikeliest of cameos – a boat. But, not just any boat, a thirteen foot Boston Whaler which Seinfeld proudly called, “the greatest boat in the world.” For as hyperbolic as that may sound, Seinfeld’s claim is one-upped by an even bolder statement from the Boston Whaler company itself – that their boats are “unsinkable legends.”