I’ve lived in NYC for nearly 37 years now, and I’ve almost certainly walked on 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan dozens of times, maybe hundreds of times, during that span. It’s the block I usually take to get to Madison Square Garden or Penn Station after exiting the subway.
While walking down that block last Saturday, however (sure enough, going to Penn Station so I could take a train to New Jersey), I saw something I somehow hadn’t noticed before: The apostrophe in the gold “Macy’s” lettering on the side of the retailer’s flagship store isn’t centered between the “y” and the “s.” As you can see in the photo above, it’s closer to the “s.”
I’m not sure how this glitch never jumped out at me before, since it’s exactly the sort of thing I typically notice. But once I saw it, it was deeply vexing. All of the other letters are evenly spaced — each one is centered within its window with a blank window in between each pair of letters — so why not the apostrophe?
Sure, you could argue that the apostrophe, as a teeny mark of punctuation, shouldn’t merit as much space on each side as a full-blown letter. But that’s not the point — however much space the apostrophe gets, it should be centered between the “y” and the “s.” Why didn’t they do that? Grrrrrr.
Having a radar for this kind of thing is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s given me the career that I have; on the other hand, it can sometimes be annoying — not just for me, but for the people around me. The day after I spotted the Macy’s apostrophe issue, for example, E and I were stopped at a red light in New Jersey when I spotted something odd and insisted on taking a photo of it through the windshield of E’s car:
The obviously weird thing here is the red street sign. I’m used to seeing green, white, or even brown, but I don’t think I’ve seen red before. But I was more interested in the less obviously weird thing, namely that the two “One Way” signs have slightly different designs. The one in the foreground clearly has larger type (and not just because it’s in the foreground). I’m not sure why a street would need two “One Way” signs in such close proximity to begin with, but it’s strange that they don’t quite match. “One Way” two ways!
As you can see, that last photo is a bit blurry. I wanted to get another shot, but E was like, “Paul, the light’s turning green, we have to go.”
Later that day, E and I attended a flea market. We ended up parking in a field with a big puddle:
I insisted on taking a photo of the puddle because it looked — at least to me — like a manta ray gliding majestically through the ocean. I mean, it does, doesn’t it?
Incidentally, I ended up getting a couple of cool items at that flea market. More on that soon.