What we're about
Welcome! We are The League of Sidewalk Superintendents, an Urban Walking Salon, with the sidewalk as our regular meeting place for the exchange of ideas. We will gather and stroll a planned sidewalk route. Along the way we shall learn about some of the design issues or history or hear from speakers with insights into that particular sidewalk or street. We will contemplate the changes that have occurred and discuss future ideas for the infrastructure.
The Original Sidewalk Superintendents Club
Originally coined in 1938 by John D. Rockefeller Jr., we have reclaimed the term 'Sidewalk Superintendents' for activities that relate to the design and improvement of walking infrastructure.
The story goes that when the Rockefeller Center was under construction in 1938, many interested onlookers stopped along the sidewalk to watch the machinery and construction. Supposedly Rockefeller himself, on a stroll around the building site, was scolded by a worker to "move along, buddy!" Rockefeller responded to the interest in watching the construction of this modern skyscraper by building a large observation deck and creating the Sidewalk Superintendents Club. He printed up 10,000 membership cards complete with tongue-in-cheek tips and moto. The public loved it and the concept of Sidewalk Superintendent Clubs took off all over the United States.
Use of the term 'Sidewalk Superintendents' lived on into the 1970's before mostly fading from the culture. Read more about the history over at Rockefeller Center (https://www.rockefellercenter.com/blog/2014/05/08/rock-history3/) or The New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/26/nyregion/fyi-777404.html) Watch a video (http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675043737_construction-at-Rockefeller-Center_Sidewalk-Superintendent-Club_blasting_suggestion-box) of the original Sidewalks Superintendents Club in action or listen to a 1951 (http://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/comedy/the-adventures-of-ozzie-and-harriet/sidewalk-superintendents-1951-11-16)radio episode revolving around a local version of the club. (http://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/comedy/the-adventures-of-ozzie-and-harriet/sidewalk-superintendents-1951-11-16)