A mocking term applied to Ann Arbor residents who seem to demand that nothing change, claiming that the town is fine just the way it is. The term is believed to have originated on Ann Arbor Is Overrated, as shorthand for "people who want to freeze Ann Arbor in amber", and generally has the same hostile tone as "NIMBY".


  • Big Ten Party Store's sign in danger, Arbor Update, December 2005

Despite the fact that changing their name takes them out of the category they shared with Village Corner and the Beer Depot, in my mind, I can understand that they thought the old name was misleading and kept customers away. And if a new name is what it takes to keep them around, that’s cool. I’ll just have to tell people, “Try looking at Big Ten Party Store – go down Packard until you see a sign for ‘Morgan & York’.” Yes, I’ve officially become an amber-freezer.

  • Everything Old is New Again, Ann Arbor is Overrated, June 2006

I sympathize greatly with your mourning for the places you love. However, a community is a living, growing thing. You can try to stunt its growth, but, like a bonsai tree (or kitten), it’s going to twist around and poke free somewhere else - in this case, it poked free in the form of luxury condos, luxury skyboxes, and luxury lampposts. The place you love is gone, and you were complicit in its demise. I’m sorry.

  • Politics in Ann Arbor, Urban Oasis, August 8, 2007

The irony, of course, is that this will create even more of a reliance upon City Administrator Roger Fraser, the DDA, and the Chamber of Commerce to keep the city functioning, recruiting business, and avoiding icebergs in the North Atlantic, which is bound to make the amber freezers even more irate. (Speaking of the DDA, pity Jennifer Hall, who could have scooped up the First Ward seat with ease, given her vast experience in city government, had she run).

  • The Council Party vs. the Ann Arbor Townies, Local In Ann Arbor, December 2011

How often have we heard it? “Ann Arbor in Amber” (refers to the fossilized resin, not the fictional kingdom), the place where townies “don’t want to change”. As we said in our earlier post, What Does It Mean to be an Ann Arbor Townie, this is really a reflection of two different visions for our town.

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