Greater Greater Washington

Celebrate Black Friday, urbanist style

While everyone else is has been in line since 3am drooling over a new iPad, 3D TV, or Zhu Zhu pets, you can enjoy Black Friday from the comfort of your home with our list of must-haves for every urbanist.
  1. Lego Public Transport Station - $100 - Lego may have been the only thing in Denmark not to have beaten American cities to the TOD fad, but hey, they probably sell most of their products to Americans. LEGO also has some great architecture sets and a whole City product line.
  1. Metro map shower curtain - $30 - You've already memorized it forwards, so why not memorize it backwards, too?
  2. Any Cameron Booth poster - $28-45 - He's not selling copies of his redesigned DC Metro Map, but maybe that means there's hope WMATA will adopt it as their new official map. In the meantime, you can grab Booth's Amtrak route map or the Eisenhower Interstate System tube-style diagram.
  3. Cycle Chic 2011 Calendar - $33 - Need a daily reminder of how uncool you and your bike are, and how much more glamorous cycling is in Denmark? Look no further.
  4. Manhole cover trivet - $24.99 - For the urbanist who fancies him or herself a budding chef, protect your kitchen surfaces with Parisian class or New York grit. If you're uneasy about setting your food on something that typically separates your feet from sewage, you can go for the cufflinks instead.
  5. Transit Maps of the World - $17 - You're taking a trip to Bangkok and want to check out their metro system. But you don't speak Thai, or the dialect of English produced by Google Translate. No worries, just turn to page 109. The only way this book could get better is if Yonah Freemark co-authored it and it updated itself on a frequent basis.
  6. London Routemaster bookends - 18 - Now you can prop up your Shakespeare, Swift and Shelley with another British classic: the London Routemaster double-decker bus.
  7. L'Enfant plan ties - $50 - Everyone who actually knows you already knows what a big urbanist geek you are. Why not let strangers know to? Not a big fan of master planned cities? Not to worry, there a plenty of other, inferior, city plans to choose from. Unfortunately, you will have to actually leave your home to get one of these.
  8. Custom NYC Subway sign - $100-400 - Tired of explaining to people which house or apartment is yours? No better landmark than a giant black sign with "Erik's Place" in clean, white Helvetica to make your place easier for guests to find.
  9. Retired PCC Streetcar - ?? - Reminisce about the good old days when rail rolling stock was actually manufactured in the US by American companies with your very own retired President's Committee Car trolley. Don't have the space for the real deal? There are a host of miniatures available, too.
Have any other great gift ideas for the urbanist or transit geek in your life? Share them in the comments.
Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

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Nice list!

"Are you having a problem with your LEGO City train? Check out the Trouble shooting guide and get it solved."
http://city.lego.com/en-us/products/default.aspx

If only it was so easy for Metrorail...

by Laurence Aurbach on Nov 26, 2010 9:47 am • linkreport

You can give a gift membership in the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), which comes with a subscription to NARP's respected monthly newsletter and a 10% discount on most Amtrak rail fares. You'll also be supporting the only nonprofit working to expand and improve passenger train and transit service nationwide.

Another nice item is a complete Railroad Atlas of North America. These come in both paperback book and DVD-ROM formats.

by Malcolm K on Nov 26, 2010 10:43 am • linkreport

Planetizen sells the ties for a slightly cheaper price, as well as three transit system map ties too.

by Richard Layman on Nov 26, 2010 1:34 pm • linkreport

The Lego City "City Corner" bus can only transport five passengers. That's inefficient. Also, the skateboard shop has a security camera mounted on the roof.

On the other hand, there are flowers at the bus stop, and the pizza shop was described by my nephew-in-law as "a woman-owned business". (Lego describes the owner as "the pizza girl".)

by Miriam on Nov 26, 2010 7:54 pm • linkreport

Thanks, Malcolm - I'll check these out.

by Anne on Nov 26, 2010 11:23 pm • linkreport

Not DC area, but SEPTA is selling retired Regional Rail signs - https://shop.septa.org/index.php?target=categories&category_id=4 . They're available online, or at their store at Suburban Station (accessible with free transfer from Amtrak).

by Steve on Nov 29, 2010 9:32 am • linkreport

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