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The Turnpike's Failure Is Our Cover

In 1988, videographer Don Bull captured a beautiful failure of the NJ Turnpike. Thanks to the magic of time, it now lives on as our cover.

Video still of "New Jersey Turnpike Disaster September 23 1988, Part 3 of 5" by Don Bull

Gracing our Issue 1 cover is a video still from the “New Jersey Turnpike Disaster,” 1988 footage of New Jersey Turnpike motorists stuck behind an asphalt tanker spill that burned for hours. Captured by videographer Don Bull on his way to a job site, he recalls:

“I was in and out of the truck when it looked like traffic was going to move. Most of the time it was the same people, the same conversations, because they were all our neighbors, so to speak. The best parts of course were when they were on camera, because then they smiled. You wouldn't smile today in a traffic jam like that.”

As drivers traveling from point A to point B, we expect very little from the Turnpike other than to deliver on its promises. A-to-B experiences put blinders on what else is possible, until those experiences are ruptured. When traffic stops, the turnpike becomes a dance floor, a lookout onto one of the world’s most complicated landscapes, a hunter’s paradise and, even, a public square holding anti-war protests of 1971.

"New Jersey Turnpike Disaster September 23 1988, Part 1 of 5" by Don Bull


Don Bull is a retired executive with an unquenchable thirst for corkscrews and corkscrew knowledge. In 1968, he was rummaging through a box in an antique store and found a bottle cap lifter embossed "Budweiser Means Moderation." That was the beginning of a beer advertising opener collection that grew to over 4,000 in the next 20 years.

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