We have lived in Atlanta for nearly 16 years and have come to really appreciate this city and what it has to offer but, to be honest, it took me a while. I'd lived in London and Amsterdam and this city those days seemed such a backwater which it wasn't, of course: it was simply that I had not realized that any city has to be taken on its own terms and not be compared with where one has previously lived.
So, in these years I have watched this city grow, become an enormous heat-island, hold the Olympics, survive one downturn in the economy, beat the effects of the dotcom bubble burst, drain Lake Lanier almost dry, refurbish its then given-over-to-crime midtown, make its suffering downtown a residential neighborhood again, and because of it all and despite the present economic depression Atlanta has retaining its hospitable personality.
It is a truism that southerners are family-oriented and hospitable and though my reaction to that is slightly cynical in that I ask "who isn't?" I really do find Atlanta a great, cultured and hospitable place to live. Oh, people complain about the traffic and I often wonder if they have ever driven in LA, Northern New Jersey, Manhattan, London or Paris? And, I know the rest of the country finds it unbelievable that the city does not own a snow plow - it snows perhaps 10 minutes a year - and that in rain drivers completely throw all sense out of the car window and that Atlanta women seemingly can apply make-up, do hair, talk on the phone and hold a coffee mug, all whilst driving. But, which city does not have its quirks?
As a blogger with the ability to roam the world physically and on the internet it is sometimes too tempting to not look at one's own backyard. I live right on Peachtree Road, Atlanta's spine, and arguably this whole city is my backyard so every post this week will be about my home city, Atlanta.
It is with pleasure thus I turn to an Atlanta hospitality venue of 30-plus years ago - a restaurant called The Midnight Sun. I never went but friends did and it is remembered with affection as a very stylish place to be and to be seen. Part of John Portman's Peachtree Center development on the edge of downtown, The Midnight Sun was one of a number of amenities then novel in Atlanta: office and showrooms, hotels, convention facilities all in skyscrapers connected by aerial walkways, underground pedestrian walkways, landscaped plazas, gardens and fountains. And very exciting and bang-up-to-date it must have seemed and indeed was: see quote below about the then-latest technology!
"Inspired by the "land of the midnight sun", Denmark, the restaurant specializes in Danish cuisine at is finest, prepared by Danish chefs and served in a traditional Danish manner. The management of the restaurant is as up to date as its design, being one of the first totally computerized restaurant operations of its kind in the country. All food and beverage controls, cash receipts and accounts are handled electronically.
"The restaurant surrounds a large marble tiered fountain atrium that is open to the sky. At night, lights beneath the marble tiers make the marble slabs translucent, creating an exotic and dramatic effect. Tree-like columns that fan out at the ceiling are an exciting architectural innovation."
An exciting architectural innovation indeed: if the photos really show the majesty of the place it must have seemed like a modern day cathedral - those columns fanning out resembling nothing more than Gothic clustered columns and fan vaulting - albeit a cathedral, squat and slick, that glorified a fully computerized, solid-state deity variously known as Mammon and Moolah.
I can find, unfortunately, no attributions for the photos or the text: they must have been in the front of the magazine, Architectural Digest, (1970s) from which these pages came. If anyone can help me with attributions, I'd be grateful.