If you ever visited me in Reading, I probably took you here, to one of my very favorite places in Reading (besides the Pagoda): Roadside America! Located in Shartlesville, PA, this truly amazing roadside attraction right off I-78 is a national treasure and a labor of love created by one man, Laurence Gieringer. As a kid, he and his brother ran up to Mt. Penn (where the Pagoda is) one day and looked down on the city of Reading below and thought how neat it would be to build their own tiny world. Mr. Gieringer made his first little house in the early 1900s, and he kept expanding this miniature world and its train tracks until his passing in 1963.
Virtually nothing has changed in Roadside America since then (although I do miss his little signs that said things like, "Note: Tree Blown Over by Storm" – those don't seem to be up right now). This is the sort of place that you have wonderful memories of visiting as a child, and then when you return as an adult, it is just as magical and special, maybe more so. The entire miniature world is about 7,450 sq. feet, and there is always more to see! There are also lots of buttons to push to, say, make a donkey bray or a blacksmith strike his tiny anvil. You can see a lovely profile of it on last weekend's CBS Sunday Morning.
Mr. Gieringer's granddaughter and her family run it now, and she has recently announced that Roadside America is for sale. I sure hope that a local person (or the Reading Museum or the Berks History Center) can purchase it, or failing that, the Smithsonian can! (Anyone know anybody at these places?) It is a very special place, and I hope everyone has an opportunity to visit it this summer!
The playground (which you can push a button to operate)!
One of the neat things about Roadside America is that there are all sorts of interesting things happening (such as street repaving)!
Inspired by people's response to BITTERSWEET, I decided to create more botanical socks based on some paintings I had made of cherry blossoms (sakura, in Japanese) and forsythia, two of my favorite flowers. At last, here are SAKURA and FORSYTHIA! Women and men have requested floral socks in the larger size, so I'm happy to announce that I have made SAKURA in the larger size, which fits women's shoe sizes 6.5 to 14 (it will just go up higher, almost like a knee sock but not quite) and men's shoe sizes 6 to 13.
THIS NIGHT is very happy to announce its second collaboration with the wonderful Whitney Museum of American Art! THIS NIGHT is very happy to announce a second collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art! Here are four styles inspired by Where We Are (on the seventh floor of the Whitney): the ones with the swan are inspired by Agnes Pelton's Star Icons; the ones with the waves are inspired by Agnes Pelton's Sea Change; the geranium ones are inspired by Charles Sheeler's Geranium); and the stripes are inspired by the shafts of light on the floor in Edward Hopper's A Woman in the Sun.
You can see all of them (and the earlier ones, which are back in stock) in person at the Whitney's shop or at its online store here.
I have always loved the moon, and after spending a year living in Japan (mostly in Kyoto) on a scholarship to study art, I returned to America with a new understanding of how we can appreciate beauty and nature wherever we are. There is an artistic tradition in Japan of depicting the moon as viewed through autumn grasses, and this is the inspiration for TSUKI (the Japanese word for "moon"). Autumn grasses weren't really on my radar before this year in Japan, but once they were, I started noticing them everywhere (and of course, would try to view the moon through them at night!). I hope these socks feel like a poem for your feet.
I really like reading long-form journalism, and there are definitely articles that stay in my mind long after reading them (chief among them, this incredibly moving and thought-provoking article in the New York Times several years ago about what it is like to be an eleven-year-old homeless child in NYC), and there are certain writers who, almost no matter the topic, write in such a precise and interesting way that I find almost anything they are writing about riveting. One of these writers is Ian Frazier, who writes for the New Yorker. He describes things so well, often with a sense of humor, and he always expresses a deep sense of empathy and appreciation for his subjects. (His writing is so distinctive that I can almost always tell it is his without reading the byline.) One of his pieces I still think about (mostly because I wish I had one!) is this one about a device he invented for removing plastic bags caught in high tree branches, another is about the return of harbor seals to NY harbor (which prompted me to take the same seal excursion he described), and another is his really interesting account of his travels in Siberia (here and here). Most recently, an article he wrote about a color he calls Statue of Liberty green fascinated me and inspired this new color for the fall socks: Liberty Green. It makes me think of both the Statue of Liberty and the colors of the Hudson River that surround it, two of my favorite things in New York.
At last, some new spring socks have arrived! In addition to the new STRIPE in navy and blue, which stealthily arrived on the scene (for men and women as well as in the women's boot/knee sock length) without any fanfare about a month ago, GRID has returned in new spring colors, including hibiscus, seafoam, blue, and pale pink (as well as in the tried-and-true navy/olive combo for men), and KYOTO is back in grey/seafoam and grey/pale pink (as well as in navy/olive for men).
As many of you know, THIS NIGHT socks are knit in my hometown of Reading, PA, in its last remaining sock knitting mill. If you are at all familiar with Reading, you will also know that, in addition to being the self-proclaimed Pretzel Capital of the World, its landmark is the Pagoda (not a pagoda, but The Pagoda). This is not your ordinary pagoda, though. Trimmed in red neon (now LED) lights and featuring both a chimney and fireplace, the pagoda was completed in 1908 at the top of Mt. Penn as a sort of luxury tea house. It never took off, however, and ended up being sold to the City of Reading for $1 in 1911. Now it is one of Reading's most enduring tourist attractions, offering a beautiful view of downtown Reading. (You can read more about the Pagoda's history and present here, and I just discovered that there is a Pagoda Cam, so you can even see the live view here!) I have long dreamed of making a Pagoda sock, and here it is (in S/M and M/L sizes), including the chimney! And $1/pair sold at www.this-night.com goes to the wonderful Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading!
Those of you in the NY area, I will be at my sock stand at American Field (a really neat weekend market featuring all American-made goods) next weekend, November 11 and 12, in Brooklyn, at Industry City (274 36th St.). If you're free and nearby, I hope you can stop by and say hello!
I have always liked Halloween, and as a kid, I had a surprisingly large amount of orange-and-black clothing and accessories. My parents are also into Halloween (they answer the door in costume), and my dad's favorite color combination is orange and black, so I have been contemplating some black-and-orange socks for a while! (I was pushed over the edge when I met a customer at the American Field event in Boston who requested some for her husband, a big Flyers fan!) So fellow Halloween enthusiasts, Princeton and Oklahoma State University alumni, graduates of Mount Penn (and Antietam) and White Plains High Schools, and Flyers, SF Giants, and Orioles fans, these are for you!
When I lived in Japan for a year, I tried adopting the traditional goal of tying up loose ends from the year before the New Year began. I still try to do this, and I am always grateful that I get a little extension with the Lunar New Year (this past Saturday)!
I am very grateful for everyone's support this past year, and especially happy to report that THIS NIGHT has donated more than $300 so far to the Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading, PA (where these socks are knit and my hometown), and will continue to donate 50 cents per pair sold on this website. Thank you, everyone!