The street musicians, they contribute a lot to the Saturday noon atmosphere. And when we drop a penny into their cups, perhaps it is not so much pity as pay for the joy their piping gives us. And the people who call papers, of whom the blind are the dearest of all. There’s a blind man on Powell street who sounds exactly as though he were saying Mass.
Dearie me, I can’t describe it. All its lilt and rhythm and color and humanness as well. And ladies walking along with huge white balloons from the White House as though they had been blowing bubbles from some great clay pipes. And a plump, rosy Chinese woman so dainty in her breeches with her shiny, black hair bound in a head dress of jade and opal and turquoise.
We need more poets.
Van Ness avenue is sole. Nowhere in the wide world does the proud and culminating automobile own and dominate such a wide and sweeping display boulevard.
The automobile, what a magnificent animal it is, long, low, luxurious, purring softly, full of a great reserve, ready to dart forward, not to the cruel touch of a spur or bit, but to the magic touch of a button. It is the culminating achievement of this period of the machine age. The airplane, clumsy and awkward as yet, belongs for its consummation to the men of tomorrow. The automobile is the zenith of today’s accomplishment, and that is why men speak of it as “super” this and “super” that.
The machine age has its own cruelties and its own, ugliness, but it also has its own art and its own beauty, of which the automobile and the houses which men have built to accommodate it, are the consummate art. Not all will agree with me here. The critics will damn me with disdain, and the King of Van Ness, who ought to agree, but is too busy talking cars, will only remark, if he listens at all: “Pretty good dope at that.” But argumentatively I proceed.
Not that I can name them. I am only sure, really sure, of a Ford. But I admire them with a great pride in my human kind. They sit so majestically in their palaces on Van Ness, great limousines, powerful roadsters, luxurious touring cars, waiting there on display and containing in themselves all the skill, energy, artifice, and beauty of line, color and trim that the machine age can produce.
And the buildings on Van Ness strike a new and independent note in architecture. All that the ages have contributed of arches, columns, coloring and lighting are utilized and made into palaces of great dignity and beauty. There is something about the arched and windowed walls and the spacious, open look of the buildings that is entirely distinctive and Van Ness. It is not Mission, Grecian or Colonial, but it is all of them. It is as new and distinctive as the service stations that have sprung out of the automobile needs. If we dared we would call it entirely American.