Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York visits the McDonald’s at 6th Avenue and 15th Street and finds “seating inspired by Arne Jacobsen’s biomorphic Egg and Swan chairs of 1958,” and “flat-screen televisions… mounted over the dining tables.” This is apparently part of a “next generation of McDonald’s” the chain has been rolling out for years already, though it’s the first we’ve heard of it here. And Burger King is playing catch-up, recently unveiling a “20/20″ redesign for the Home of the Whopper in Amsterdam, with a “palette of white, black and black — with flame designs — and brick and concrete finishes” to “encourage intimate and engaging dining,” which it expects to roll out system-wide.
This is painful to admit, but in a city full of upscale boites and Pinkberrys, we sometimes rely on the visual stability of recognizable fast-food joints for psychological grounding. With local mom-and-pop classics disappearing every day, we could at least count on chains to stay the same. Now when we go into a McDonald’s we may encounter the lounge from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Soon the garish neon and velvet chintz of Tad’s Steaks will give way to Swedish Modern, and we’ll be totally unmoored.