Coming in hot off the holidays, AN editors have rounded up all the news—from a camera obscura’s uncertain fate to HOK’s stadium dreams for the Jacksonville Jaguars—you may have missed.
Here’s all the news you need to know today:
San Francisco’s Giant Camera severely damaged by inclement weather
A beloved, giant camera obscura on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach was partially destroyed in the rough weather and waves that hit the Bay Area last week. The exterior of the almost 75-year-old camera was battered by strong winds, but according to its operator Robert Tacchetto, the device’s main components, including its 150-inch lens and mirror, are still intact.
This isn’t the first time the camera (pictured at top) has been damaged by the elements. Tacchetto hopes the recent battering will be an opportunity to waterproof the historic structure against future storms.
“It’s not a good start for 2023, but I’m just glad it hasn’t been demolished,” Tacchetto told SFGATE. “It’s a special place and I hope it gets a stronger structure so it can live on for the next generation of San Francisco.”
Erected in 1949, the Giant Camera, as the National Register of Historic Places–listed building is now known, is a popular tourist attraction and the last artifact remaining from the defunct amusement park Playland-at-the-Beach.
Massachusetts drops a million on cranberry bogs
At the close of 2022 the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced it gave $1 million in funds to over a dozen organizations that support the commonwealth’s cranberry industry. With 14,000 acres under cultivation, Massachusetts is the nation’s second-largest producer of the little bog-dwelling fruits that clear UTIs and grace America’s Thanksgiving tables every year. The MDAR Cranberry Bog Renovation Grant Program will fund projects that renovate cranberry bogs, facilitate higher yields, and promote more efficient growing techniques for participating farmers.
“The production of cranberries provides significant economic and environmental benefits to the Commonwealth, and our local growers continue to incorporate the latest in technology and equipment to grow and harvest their fruit in ways that conserve more water and better protect our natural resources,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a press release. “This funding will help boost long-term production and drive economic growth that will directly benefit the industry, consumers and local economies.”
New federal law continues funding for the preservation of Japanese American Confinement Sites
Earlier this month President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that furthers the preservation of Japanese American Confinement Sites (JACS) and creates a new, $10 million educational grant program to educate Americans about Japanese American internment during World War II.
“The internment of Japanese American citizens remains one of the darkest and most shameful periods in our history. The stories of so many who unjustly lost their freedom, lost property, and were forcibly uprooted from their homes should be a constant reminder of our duty to uphold the rights of every American,” bill coauthor U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in a press release. “Our new law will ensure that we continue to preserve internment sites and create a new grant program to educate more people about Japanese American confinement.”
The Norman Y. Mineta Japanese American Confinement Education Act reauthorizes funding for the JACS program to continue the preservation of the sites where the federal government forcibly confined around 120,000 people with Japanese ancestry (two-thirds of whom were American citizens) during World War II. In the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, the United States formally apologized to imprisoned individuals and gave $20,000 to each survivor. Eighteen years later, it created the JACS program to preserve the camps and honor the Japanese Americans who were unjustly imprisoned.
Jacksonville Jaguars tap HOK for stadium renovation
Back in December 2021, the National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars asked eight architects to submit conceptual plans for what the team calls a “stadium of the future.” The franchise considered building a new facility, but ultimately opted to update its existing arena, picking HOK as the design consultant.
Among other ideas, first-run plans call for fully-shaded seating areas, wider concourses, and rain protection so the stadium could be used for other sports and events in the off season.
“HOK did an exceptional job of studying the current state of TIAA Bank Field and creating an innovative introductory concept that we are confident will—with further development—meet the needs of our fans and other stakeholders and also spur additional downtown revitalization efforts, which will enhance pride in our city,” the Jaguars said in the news release.
According to the Jacksonville Daily Record, an engineering assement determined that it “was possible to solve our long-term stadium challenges via a renovation of the current stadium versus new construction.”
A Manhattan restaurant is suing the city for demolishing its curbside dining shed
The owners of Pinky’s Space, a restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village, are suing the city for over $600,000 in damages in what it claims was a surprise demolition of an outdoor dining structure.
The erstwhile 30-foot-long shed was crowned by a disco ball, dripping with greenery, and bedecked with pink neon lights, according to Gothamist. The suit claims that Department of Transportation workers unlawfully destroyed Pinky’s propery and refused to let the owners salvage any building materials or decor.
“Beyond even the financial stuff, we put so much love in there, and care, and attention, and mindfulness and thoughtfulness of it,” Pinky’s Space co-owner Mimi Blitz told Gothamist. “It just got ripped away, and for unjust reasons.”
The city claims it gave the owners fair notice about violations it found, including issues like the structure’s distance from the curb, and alleged its lack of ADA accessibility for disabled patrons.