Luxury emergency scenarios for a new downtown Madison

Is the duck-fat spill just the beginning?

Is the duck-fat spill just the beginning? | By Scott Gordon, Chali Pittman, Mark Riechers, Chris Lay


A postcard from a time before thought leadership. Via Wikimedia Commons.

A postcard from a time before thought leadership. Via Wikimedia Commons.

One Sunday in May, Madison officials had a new kind of emergency on their hands when a 55-gallon drum of duck fat from highly aspirational downtown restaurant Rare Steakhouse spilled along Carroll Street. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the spill resulted in the fat, presumably intended for Rare’s duck fat frites, “coating sidewalks.” This combination of culinary indulgence and small-scale environmental emergency highlights the way downtown Madison is changing as more pricey businesses and high-end housing arrive. In light of that, here are a few more scenarios the city might want to prepare for as it faces an upscale future.

Intermittent flash flooding from collapsed rooftop infinity pools.

Mass stress fractures of the thumbs as Social Media Breakfast Madison attendees scramble to tweet out the same trite presentation points about staying on top of trends.

Pedal pub traffic descends into chaos and disorder as operators steer into the glass walls of new condo buildings, baffled by their own reflections.

Amenity fatigue, as well as a media firestorm of local trend pieces dissecting the economics of amenity fatigue.

A float tank malfunction causes dozens of young professionals to neglect their personal brands.

Babel-like linguistic dissonance takes hold as more brands mindlessly appropriate “hip” and/or “urban” terminology for random things.

Economic development officials falling down in intersections and gibbering about millennials.

Mass maulings during Cat Cafe Yoga.


Disruptive brainstorming between factions of engineers, gearheads, foodies and thought leaders leads to a vaping apparatus large scale enough to give entire blocks of Madison residents popcorn-flavored popcorn lung.

Crash in the Hippie Christmas market citywide as East Washington Corridor alleys fill with hand-crafted Kickstarter furniture, discarded cases of high-end bubbly, and other high-value garbage.

Several bicyclists are injured as a result of inattentive driving due to another Kim Gordon sighting at Underground Butcher.

Retail on State Street collapses completely as high end establishments move aboard floating Ayn Randian skymalls suspended in a chain of dirigibles linking the Epic campus with downtown.

The band Cake is allowed to perform in public.

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