Roving Rube Picture of the Day


What a magnificent spectacle ... for a man who cannot read

This was G.K. Chesterton's observation about Times Square in the 1920's, and certainly there is lots more to be read there now than in his time.

Chesterton is quoted in William Leech's introductory essay on Commercial Aesthetics" in "Inventing Times Square" (ed. William R. Taylor), a scholarly book that becomes more interesting the more one becomes fascinated with Times Square.

Leech goes on to discuss the "father of commercial signage", coiner of the phase "The Great White Way", the man has much as anyone deserves his own statue or honorary street sign there -- O. J. Gude:

"Gude was a shrewd confidence man who ... claimed his work actually integrated art and business, and brought more 'aesthetic pleasure' to people than any other medium ... Districts like Times Square, where commercial light and color were gathered into one spot to an unusual degree ... often drew tourists from around America and the world ... to see what Gude called 'the phantasmagoria of the lights and electric signs.'"

Signage of all sorts is encouraged by city ordinance to preserve the historical character of Times Square, and the Rube is 100% in favor of it himself.

Today's Picture

Forward Back Archive