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Architecture of Crime

Wacky roadside buildings are boss in the hit TV series The Sopranos

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Wilson's House of Carpet Lumberjack

A giant lumber jack stands outside Wilson's House of Carpet.

Photo © SopranosOnLocation.4t.com
America's favorite mobsters may be make-believe, but the landscape they live in is absolutely real. Filmed in northern New Jersey, the popular TV series The Sopranos captures the seamier - and the sillier - side of Americana.

Beyond the shaded grounds of Tony's home (a French Provincial "McMansion") are odd remnants from the 1950s. Faded billboards and enormous statues tower over burger joints, bowling alleys, cocktail lounges, car washes, drive-ins and ratty aluminum sided warehouses.

Watch the TV show or take a drive along the New Jersey Turnpike and you're likely to see buildings like Wilson's House of Carpet in Jersey City. Looming in the parking lot, a gigantic lumber jack holds a roll of green indoor/outdoor carpeting.

And then, east of Ridge Road in North Arlington, is the diminutive Pizzaland. This squat, brick-sided structure is less than fifteen feet wide, but it makes up for its small size by shouting its name: the sign is as wide as the building.

The sign for Satriale's Pork Store in Kearny has a huge smiling pig. Formerly the West Hudson Auto Parts Store, this stone-sided building was reincarnated for The Sopranos. Fat plaster pigs on the rooftop add to the effect.

If 1950s era buildings like these amuse you, don't stop at the border of New Jersey. America's roadside architecture takes many forms, and it can be found all across the land.

Next: Wacky Roadside Architecture >>

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