Berkeley’s Normandy Village was constructed as a sort of “Disneyland version” of a French village, but being constructed in the early twentieth century, it included covered car parking spaces. The challenge, of course, is that the size of the average automobile has grown substantially in the past 100 years. “Compact” and “mid-size” cars barely fit; only the Mazda Miata at the left size of the image looks properly at home in its bay.
The city streets of Prague’s Old Town may be fairly narrow, but a Mini still looks small. Perhaps the enormous-looking man behind the wheel adds to the effect. Whatever the case, the connection to the original Italian Job makes me happy any time I see a Mini in a European city.
Each Sunday morning during my 2017 sabbatical, I would start a load of wash in the apartment building’s single shared washing machine and head to Philz Coffee on Shattuck (don’t look for it—it’s not there anymore). I’d stand on this sunny corner in the perfect weather with an enormous coffee and watch the world for a minute… Before heading back to change over the laundry.
Houses stacked onto the hillsides of Berkeley, California have a weird tiered geometry and features like picture windows at the corners of rooms. Living there long enough, they become everyday and ordinary… But they’re a bit surprising when first encountered.
Look at all those taillights! When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
Though Decaseconds isn’t about to become an auto blog, there’s something about a car in the environment for which it was practically designed (like a tiny Peugot in Paris, a Miata on a racetrack, or a manual transmission, turbocharged, German wagon in the Adirondacks) that looks just right.
Walking through the side streets of Berkeley, all kinds of delightful sports cars are secreted away in the driveways of wood-shingled homes. This BMW 2002 looks like it’d be a hoot to drive.
This Alfa Romeo Spyder also looks (and this is a technical term) “the business.”
The Bonneville Salt Flats are the perfect location to spot a fast car with a big wing—though it’s perhaps a bit diminished when the car is on the Interstate, rather than the crumbly old lakebed surface proper.
A curving, semi-broken mountain road beneath an aspen grove is the natural habitat of Subaru’s Impreza WRX. As I took this shot, I was riding in a Subaru myself—there was an appropriate sense of kinship.
Happy New Year!
As a celebration of 2018, I wanted to show a large set of the street photography images I took while in San Francisco for my 2017 sabbatical. That seems to be a fitting way to look back on the year that has passed.
Our first snow of the year arrived last night, so I thought now was a perfect time to look back on summer nights with convertible German sports cars and Bay Area sunsets.
The title of today’s post is somewhat sarcastic: there is such an incredible variety of vehicles and homes visible on any Berkeley street that a “standard” is impossible. This Volvo wagon and turreted home both seemed like prime examples of classic Berkeley engineering.
Bay Area sunsets shift to the north in summer, where they’re best seen from the houses of the Berkeley Hills. There’s something delightfully Californian about a German sports car parked in front of a mid-century modern home on a ridiculously-graded road.