Field Notes

Observed: Outdoor Street Dining (sedeo strata)

As New York City has halted indoor dining and drinking, due to the preponderance of evidence that this creates a high-risk COVID-19 environment, outdoor street dining has popped up in the free curbside parking zone along many streets.

There are many versions of sedeo strata which have emerged into the last few weeks, at some point we all will have to see if there will need to be subdivisions. Examples with full canopies feel markedly different from examples with only places to sit.

This observer hopes this will be a lasting change to the city.

Observed: Protectus bolus

Observed in the field a variety of bollard – Protectus bolus. Once relegated to the shoreline and docks to assist the longshoreman secure ships to shore, Protectus bolus in all different subspecies crowd the sidewalk. Many of these are installed without approval throughout the five boroughs, and are loosely regulated.

We see three common types:

  • Granite bollard
    Protectus bolus granum
  • Planter bollard
    Protectus bolus planta 
  • Metal pole bollard
    Protectus bolus metallum

Observed: Protectus blavus

Ubiquitous blue barricades block the street for events as diverse as the marathon, to street fairs, to blocking your constitutional right to change an outmoded system of police, Protectus blavus is found throughout the Five Boroughs, and beyond. Often found near Protectus obex.

Observed: Protectus obex

Meet Protectus obex – the modular steel barricades which can be linked together – used to control traffic, people, and protests. Protest is part of America, protected by the First Amendment, and necessary to change the current situation so that black lives matter.

Generally deployed by the police, but often deployed by departments of transportation. Generally used for protection, but also to limit our first amendment rights.

Social distancing: let the sidewalks be your guide

It now seems that most of the world will be in some form of social distancing as a prelude to full quarantine or isolation in order to flatten the infection curve for COVID-19. California went shelter in place last week and New York is going on “pause” on Sunday.

And it now seems like anyone I’ve ever gave my email address to has a COVID-19 message.

Hopefully this will be useful.

In NYC, and other metropolitan areas, sometimes we can’t always just stay the fuck home (although, seriously, stay the fuck home). So, if you want to stay 4’ to 6’ away from people use the sidewalk. Each square of a sidewalk, commonly called a flag, is between 4’ to 6’ wide.

So when I had to take my kid to the pediatrician yesterday, or when I had to go to the laundromat this morning, I kept to the other side of the street from people and 1-2 flags of sidewalk between us.

Let the sidewalk be your guide.

But seriously: only go outside when absolutely necessary. Do your part. So, just stay inside. We are doing it because we aren’t healthcare professionals or jerks. We all need to play our part in flattening the curve. If you want to be part of something, be part of the 101st Couch Commandos so that we don’t overwhelm our healthcare professionals, or unwittingly infect those who have health complications or are imminiocompromosed.

Be the couch hero of your dreams.

Observed: Carrum silva

An alternate to the Common Bin (carrum communis) the Central Park Conservancy bin by Landor was recently sighted at the Cooper-Hewitt.

Observers have provisionally classified these specimens as Carrum silva in celebration of their verdant Central Park habitat. Not as functional or as useful as its cousin the Common Bin, 1this observer has heard firsthand how hard it is to clean and maintain these bins nevertheless C. silva has a distinct shape and design which for some observers has elevated its form over the function. 2Citation needed.

Observed: Scabby the Rat

One of my favorite things found on the street – mostly found in NYC but also in major union cities – is Scabby the Rat. Inflated outside construction sites or outside the offices of companies which the union has an issue with, Scabby sits there for a day, then goes home. There are also at least four sizes of Scabby the Rat ranging from 8 to 25 feet produced by Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights, the self-proclaimed creators (with some receipts to prove their case). Much like who invented the skyscraper, there is some argument on who came up with Scabby first: the story goes, Chicago did it first, but then New York did it more, and better.

Classifiers have suggested the following taxonomy, based on observations:

Of course, more study must be completed before Scabby the Rat’s page is finalized. Stay tuned.

New card deck mockup

Updated Walking Card prototype, one of three formats.

A set of identification cards practitioners can use as they go about their day, acting as both flash cards and design tool allowing exploration of new typology combinations


  • Better form factor to fit inside a pocket or in a card deck
  • Matches rectangle Post-it Note
  • Clearer typology, using Verlag for the main typography and Trade Gothic Condensed No. 18 for the sizing.
  • Incorporation of large square photos on the front, with line drawings on the obverse. If I’m taking all these photos, why not use them?
  • Use the identification text from the main article.
  • Clearer Order/Family/Genus/Species metadata along with clear sizing information