Here’s an anniversary this country won’t celebrate as if its very existence depended on it: it’s been 20 years since the first McDonald opened in Poland. It’s still there, band in the center of Warsaw, still aesthetically obnoxious. I went through some photos from the opening, and you know what? 90s are already retro.
I am still to find the author of these pictures (if you can help, please do) – they’ve been making rounds online for a while. The thing is, this is Warsaw fresh out of its sad, grey communist 80s, newly introduced to the wonders of capitalism, inviting the promise of foreign capital-funded wonders in.
Hence the suits (suits!!)
According to the Polish Wikipedia, 45 thousand visitors came in on the opening day and placed 13 304 orders. Note the cool 90s clothing, particularly the padded arms on women.
This gorgeous construction, on the corner of Marszalkowska and Swietokrzyska, apparently costed $1 million to build. It is still there, still looks pretty much the same, though Ronald – thankfully – has been removed.
And now, for something political. The gentleman in jeans is Jacek Kuron, an emblematic figure in Polish history – prominent union and opposition activist during the communist years and an important figure of our early democracy. Wikipedia has more.
The blue-eyed lady in the middle is Agnieszka Osiecka, poet and song writer, also and important cultural figure. Again, Wikipedia is your friend. This was clearly The Event, with VIPs, champagne and sunday bests.
First generation of students, artists, comedians, actors, journalists and other financial beginners to aid themselves with a McDonald pay slip.