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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 21, 2009