Today, walking around Grand Central I was reminded once again that the late Victorians had a different attitude towards light bulbs than we do today. To them an exposed light bulb looked stylish and modern, to us it’s a symbol of decrepitude and poorness. We hide light bulbs behind shades and diffusers. The Victorians liked to show them off. Here is a fine example – an expensive-looking gilded chandelier in Grand Central topped off with exposed light bulbs. You can also see examples of these in IRT subway stations.
Victorian kitchens often had the simplest of light fixtures – a light bulb on a pretty woven cord, like this one sold by Rejuvenation Hardware. The also sell an amazingly cool looking replica Edison light bulb to go with it. My own kitchen is Art Deco-styled, but I was very tempted to get one of these.
Victorians also had a different attitude towards kitchens, and I absolutely agree with them. Every time that I hear on “This Old House” how kitchen is the most important room, kitchen is the center of the house, how the owners plan to entertain in the kitchen – I shudder. How can a nation so overweight make an altar out of the room where it is destroying itself? I am an overweight glutton myself (especially when depressed), but I certainly would not want to build my house around a kitchen. The Victorians had the right notion – a kitchen is a utility room. Like the laundry. Or the butler’s room. Or the carriage house.
Also, while we are on the subject of unusual light bulb – there’s a company that sells odor removing light bulbs. They claim that the Titanium Dioxide coating illuminated by fluorescent light is somehow breaking down odors. I hear that it works, so I ordered a couple for the room where the catbox is located. I’ll let you know how it’ll work.
One of the most annoying things about New York and many other American cities is the lack of pubic bathrooms. There are no paid privately ran WCs like in Europe, so tourists mostly rely on McDonalds and Starbucks stores for bathroomage (if it’s not a word, we have the technology to make it one).
There are a few other esoteric choices like subway bathrooms – despite the popular wisdom that there are none, most terminal stations and big hubs have open bathrooms, which are scary and extremely dirty, but are sometimes functioning. In all of my years in NYC I wasn’t brave enough to actually use one. I have seen a few experimental high tech bathrooms, sort of 24th century port-o-johns around the city. The one that I used once had a five minute time limit after which the doors opened and the floor was automatically cleaned.
But if you are to experience the NYC’s ultimate hidden, but public bathroom, you need to visit the Trump Tower (725 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street ). There is a doorman next to a set of doors that you can see swung open when an unlucky Apprentice is being expelled, but it’s not going to open for you. You need to enter through revolving doors reserved for regular shmoes. But inside you’ll find a huge pink marble lobby housing a public mall, complete with a multistoried lighted waterfall, Starbucks, Tower Records, a small booth hawking “You are fired” t-shirs and mugs, a bunch of luxury stores, a deli counter and – you guessed it – one of New York’s best public restrooms.
Almost everything in the building is adorned with a “T” or with Turmp’s “family crest”. I was expected to see it on trashcans and urinals, but I guess The Donald did not want to go that far with branding. Men’s bathroom has grey marble surfaces and is well maintained. I expected it to be more lavish, but it is still better than the rest.