Monday, March 28, 2011


Our pals at Delancey Place sent us this snippet…

"In new and sanitized suburban towns, a young generation thus dreamed of cures - of a death-free, disease-free existence. Lulled by the idea of the durability of life, they threw themselves into consuming durables: boat-size Studebakers, rayon leisure suits, televisions, radios, vacation homes, golf clubs, barbecue grills, washing machines. In Levittown, a sprawling suburban settlement built in a potato field on Long Island - a symbolic utopia - 'illness' now ranked third in a list of 'worries,' falling behind 'finances' and 'child-rearing.' In fact, rearing children was becoming a national preoccupation at an unprecedented level. Fertility rose steadily - by 1957, a baby was being born every seven seconds in America. The 'affluent society,' as the economist John Galbraith described it, also imagined itself as eternally young, with an accompanying guarantee of eternal health - the invincible society." – Siddhartha Mukherjee

But later they would learn better.

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1 comment:

Jon said...

I have a great picture of my mom standing in front of our newly purchased New Jersey tract home in 1959. In the background is our 1956 two tone Plymouth, with fins. Mom looks pissed off. It's easy to see that suburbia is a failed experiment but I've been reading up on New York working class life in the post war era and suburbia must have looked like a chance to start over. Meanwhile, here in California, suburbia is collapsing as the moneyed classes move into the newly remodeled inner cities. I was just reading reports on population loss and tax base collapse in a '60's planned subdivision town near here.