A couple weeks ago I came across this really interesting photo of Detroit, taken in 1930:
(Click for higher resolution awesomeness)
Then just this week I started reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, where he has this passage:
My grandparents’ eyes glazed over at the sheer activity, streetcars rumbling, bells clanging, and the monochrome traffic swerving in and out. In those days downtown Detroit was filled with shoppers and businessmen. Outside Hudson’s Department Store the crowd was ten thick, jostling to get in the newfangled revolving doors. Lina pointed out the sights: the Cafe Frontenac… the Family Theatre… and the enormous electric signs: Ralston… Wait & Bond Blackstone Mild 10¢ Cigar.
It made me think Eugenides looked at this same photo when envisioning those days. So I contacted him to find out:
Dear Mr. Cole,
It was either that photograph or one very much like it. The giveaway is that Blackstone Cigar. Thank you for sending it my way.
I hope you like the rest of the book.
Oh, the internets are magic. This reminds me of the time Richard Rorty wrote me, about 2 years before he died, and, to my everlasting chagrin, I didn’t save it before Groupwise auto-purged it forever. I think writing awesome people will be my new hobby, even if it’s only half as exciting as Letters of Note.