When Sewers Were New, Clean, and Amazing

Archival Photographs Reveal an Engineered Labyrinth of Civic Optimism

Below our city streets lies an ad-hoc world of subterranean tunnels and pipes. The oldest are brick and concrete sewers that once carried waste streams in one direction, rainfall overflow in another. Today, these waterways must contend with newer sewers, subway tunnels, power lines, and fiber-optic cables. But in the 19th century, these labyrinths were the only man-made things that existed below ground.

Archival photos reproduced in Stephen Halliday’s An Underground Guide to Sewers give us a rare view of these sewers of the past, as they looked to the people …

A Londoner’s Anti-Home

Why I Left My Hometown Just Before Its Olympic Moment and Came Back to Los Angeles

Russell Crowe once said he would move to Los Angeles on three conditions: if New Zealand and Australia were swallowed up by a tidal wave, if there were a bubonic …

Be Grateful, London

Like It or Not, You Need L.A.'s Help

As some went to Europe to see the living past, so one must visit Southern California to observe the future.
– Alison Lurie.

The rioting, looting and clashes with police in …

My Stiff Upper Lip

A Californian Keeps Calm and Carries On During the London Riots

When I moved to London to attend university, my parents were afraid I’d get caught in an explosion. In my first weeks in London, I saw a polished blonde foam …