Hi there. Remember me?
First things first: By the time most of you read this, I’ll be on my way to Manhattan to cover this morning’s Nike Pro Combat unveiling (which you can apparently watch live via streaming video). Then I’ll be whipping up an ESPN piece about same
Not sure yet if it’ll run later today or first thing tomorrow, but I’ll post an update here either way which has now been posted.
Now then, about that photo up there: No, Phil didn’t torch the Uni Watch offices on his way out. If you follow me on Facebook, you may be aware that two friends and I spent the past 10 days or so road-tripping through the Rust Belt and staying several days in Detroit, where we devoted a fair amount of our time to exploring abandoned buildings and industrial facilities. I took that photo on Saturday in an abandoned school that had later been turned into a bar and then suffered a bad fire.
It was a great trip. Here are some highlights:
• US-6 in Pennsylvania: It’s possible to get from NYC to Detroit in one long-haul day if you take the Interstates, but that’s not a road trip — that’s just driving. We stuck to two-lane blacktops as much as possible, and US-6 through northern Pennsylvania, a route I’d never taken before, was a major revelation. Spectacular countryside, lots of nice little towns, and a very 1950s-ish vibe. We especially liked all the cool stuff in the town of Wellsboro; Kinzua Bridge State Park (where the titular bridge collapsed during a tornado a few years ago); the very hypnotic Kinzua Dam; the completely adorable Lindy Motel and Cabins just outside Coudersport, where we spent our first night on the road; and this amazing Victorian ghost house in Coudersport:
We were also happy to find several superior watering holes, including the Table Rock Hotel in Laceyville (that’s Jennifer, our barmaid); the Arlington Hotel in Kane (yes, they served us pie along with our beers, and check out those great little dancing-girl silhouettes in the back-bar lights); and the Towers Tavern in Albion (where the bartender was a dead ringer for Linda Manz, but I didn’t get a photo of her).
• Here’s Buck in Your Eye: Ah, Ohio — the state that puts the “heart” in “heartland,” or maybe just in “heartburn.” Most of our stops in the Buckeye State were food-related, including our visits to the White Turkey Drive-In in Conneaut (probably the only roadside eatery in America that specializes in turkey sandwiches); the New Sandusky Fish Co. in Sandusky (where we had a wonderful fried perch sandwich picnic and also got a kick out of the adjoining bait shop’s live crayfish); the amazing Twistee Treat ice cream stand in Clyde; Gyro George just outside of Cleveland (where we had a very solid breakfast, but I mainly liked it because they had history’s most pathos-laden grits sign in the window); Schmucker’s in Toledo (those three pies, in sequence, are blackberry, rhubarb, and apple-walnut-caramel); and Central Hot Dog, also in Toledo (so much better than the overrated Tony Packo’s, which has become an insipid TGIDouchebag sports bar nightmare).
On the non-food front, we stayed at the wonderful Old Orchard Motel in Fremont and also had a somewhat life-altering experience at a serious white-trash bar in Mitiwanga called the Patio Tavern, where we apparently made such an impression that two of the regulars “treated” us a little NSFW performance as we pulled out of the parking lot. Still haven’t fully recovered from that one.
• Don’t forget the Motor City: For all the crap you hear about Detroit, it has two of the most beautiful skyscrapers I’ve ever seen: the incredible Guardian Building, which is right downtown, and the only slightly less impressive Fisher Building. Both were absolutely magnificent (Guardian first, then Fisher):
The elegant skyscrapers made a nice counterpoint to all the decay and abandoned sites we explored. I wasn’t able to photograph the interiors as well as I would have liked, because the light was generally poor and I often had one of my hands occupied with a flashlight, but I got a fair number of decent shots at the amazing Fisher Body plant and also got a few decent images inside the Ft. Wayne Hotel. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good shots from Cass Tech, an abandoned high school that was absolutely magnificent — the chem lab was full of beakers and other glassware, the auditorium was nearly as grand as a Broadway theater, and I found some old report cards from the 1950s. All very poignant.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get inside the cathedral-like Michigan Central Station train depot (where I got all the way to the roof back in 1998!), because they were filming a movie in there. But it still made for some right purty exterior pictures:
I didn’t bother photographing most of our meals, but I made an exception for our incredible lunch spread at Lafayette Coney Island (that thing in the center is a “looseburger”), the great church fish fry that we stumbled upon right after our Fisher Body expedition, and the cool street BBQ scene outside the Eastern Market. I also really liked El Rincon, a Mexican seafood joint with great ceviche and the saddest flashing arrow sign ever:
And there was lots more: a late-night boat ride out on the Rouge River, where we saw all sorts of industrial activity taking place; finally getting to meet Julia Solis, an absolute god(dess) of industrial exploration; a visit to the always inspiring Heidelberg Project; dinner at a Russian monastery that serves Eastern European food to the public on Thursday nights; and an utterly surreal visit to the lair of one Jay Thunderbolt that easily qualifies as the most Lynch-ian experience of my life (if you have to ask, don’t ask).
I know, I know — “Less talk, more
rock uniforms.” We’ll get back to regular uni-driven content tomorrow. And like I said up top, I’ll have Nike unveiling coverage on ESPN either later today or early tomorrow.
Finally, let’s hear it for Phil, who presided over a very, very good month of content. Some backup QBs play it safe and just avoid tossing interceptions; others take charge and move the ball down the field. I think it’s pretty obvious which category Phil falls into. Great job, buddy. Thanks for running the show, and congrats on all the great material. Now sit back take a nice long rest — you’ve earned it, and then some.
The undershirt I can’t get enough of: Remember how I got completely obsessed with those 1956 Portland Beavers striped undersleeves last fall? Dave Eskenazi, who brought those stripes to my attention in the first place, has now come up with the best view yet of those amazing sleeves. Even better, the photo caption explains that the stripes were controversial but ultimately allowed by the league president.
Some of you are probably wondering what happened to those plans we had to order some reproductions of that design. Bob Halfacre, who was going to be in charge of that, showed me some fabric samples a few months back, but I wasn’t very happy with them and asked if he could come up with something better, which he said he’d try to do. I hadn’t heard back from him in a while, so yesterday I sent him a note. Here’s his response:
The biggest issue is that the fabric of choice back then was cotton durene. I know of only one machine left in the U.S. that knits durene, and the tread is equally scarce. I did a project years ago with them and it was very expensive — as much as $25 just for the sleeve parts. I’m trying to find an import company that makes a similar product that’s more economical. The actual manufacturing of the garment is nothing — obtaining the raw goods is the challenge. I’ll keep looking.
So there we are. I’ll keep you posted, natch. Meanwhile, major thanks to Dave Eskenazi for continuing to send these great Beavers photos my way.
A couple of friendly reminders: My thanks to the many of you who’ve ordered “Meats” T-shirts over the past few weeks. They’ve available in gray and white, sizes M thru XXL. Price: a mere $13 + $3 shipping for the first shirt and $1.50 shipping for each additional shirt. To order, send the appropriate amount via Amazon Payments to plukas64 at gmail dot com (after paying, send me a separate e-mail with your size, color, and shipping info), or send a check to Paul Lukas, 671 DeGraw St., Brooklyn, NY 11217. Rush shipping available if you want the shirts delivered in time for your Labor Day barbecue. Special rates available for for vegans and Wayne Hagin.
Also, don’t forget that the Uni Watch Membership Program is still going strong. If you’ve been meaning to join, there’s no time like the present.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Q: What do you get when you combine BFBS and the Seahawks? A: Rafael Nadal last night. … New court design for the Jazz (with thanks to Jefferson Boswell). ”¦ Here’s a video clip about UCLA’s new road uni (with thanks to Erkki Corpuz). ”¦ Remember my articles earlier this summer about Hinchliffe Stadium, the old Negro Leagues ballpark in Paterson, N.J.? Some cool events will be taking place there this weekend. ”¦ Seriously disturbing apostrophe catastrophe on the cover of Temple’s football media guide. ”¦ Here’s yet another example of the Reds experimenting with “air-conditioned” caps in the 1950s. According to the caption, “The air-conditioning of the cap consists of a water-coooled band made of aluminum foil and sponges with a perforated vinyl cover, all inserted inside the plastic cap.” Yikes (with thanks to Todd Radom). ”¦ Craig Deno reports that St. Xavier High in Cincy has “AMDG” on their nose bumpers. “That stands for Ad Majorem Dei Glorium (For the Greater Glory of God), which is the motto of the Jesuit Order,” he explains. ”¦ Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, of all places, had a hilarious article about college football players posing for beefcake pics. ”¦ Stephen Wong sent along this list of the world’s best-selling soccer jerseys, plus he also reports that Adidas has re-upped its MLS sponsorship. ”¦ Here’s a little item about why Brandon Marshall wears that tape on his arms (with thanks to Kurtiss Dilley). ”¦ Vols coach Derek Dooley’s sun hat is apparently making quite a fashion statement down in Tennessee. ”¦ With Alabama taking part in today’s Nike unveiling, someone at the school’s web site put together a sensational Crimson Tide uni timeline (big thanks to Paul Crook). ”¦ Our own Terry Proctor has written a history of the Rochester Amerks’ uniforms. ”¦ Robbie Cano: Still wearing the pink MLB logo (as noted by Mike Mattison). ”¦ What do you do with a ceramic meerkat? You give it a Nebraska football paint job, natch. “Please note the squared collar, the new Adidas logo positioning, the Husker tradition emblem, and the new TV number positioning,” says Jon Gates, the proud artist.