Americana | A Continuous Lean.

Living Vicariously Through Other People’s Junk.

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

MRC

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

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“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

Kubrick

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.

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Iconic Campaign Buttons of Yore.

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

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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.

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A Whale of a Boat.

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

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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.”





Birdwell Flies High.

Nov 24th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, California, Made in the USA | by Michael Williams

Air Bird

If by chance you have flown to Orange County recently you may have noticed an American surf icon staring at you as you float down towards John Wayne Airport. Seeing “Birdie” Birdwell on a factory roof should come as a surprise if you know anything about this sleepy SoCal surf brand.

Just as surprising as it must have been to scroll through Instagram and discover Birdie adorned to a mobile surf shop in Southern California this summer. Also, wait, Birdwell is on Instagram? The question you should be asking yourself is: What is happening at Birdwell? For any other brand this wouldn’t really mean much at all, but for Birdwell this is tantamount to a revolution.

Birdwell Beach Britches is one of the most storied and iconic California surf brands that has ever been. It’s authentic, still entirely manufactured in the U.S. (largely to the original specs) and it possesses a certain charm that can’t seem be replicated in modern brands. It took decades of being family owned and utterly resistant to change for the Birdwell quirkiness to resonate, ultimately giving the brand a cult following. Over the years surfers, lifeguards, beachgoers and the like fell in love with Birdwell and came to swear by the product for the quality and durability. Others, like me connected with Birdwell because it is so distinctly American and a time capsule of a brand.

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At Home in the Natural World: Yellowstone in October

Oct 28th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, David Coggins, Fishing | by David Coggins

Yellowstone IIFirehole River

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Yellowstone National Park is stunning all summer, but in October it’s even more stark and striking. The grass becomes the color of straw, the bison get frost in their fleece and mist rises off the rivers in the cold. Most of the crowds have gone—though there are still knowing visitors—and snow dusts the mountaintops.

Then there’s the Madison River, the main attraction for anglers making their late-season pilgrimage to the Park. Brown trout head into the river to spawn, their color bolder, deeper red and gold. Following the fish are people who wake up early in the freezing dark to go stand in the water. In feels foolish at times, but when it all comes together it’s clear that it’s the right thing to do.