Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NYC Image: Future New York, 'The City of Skyscrapers,' 1910s

Well, it didn't quite turn out this way... This 1910s postcard from Walker Evans imagines the future of New York, "The City of Skyscrapers," offering a system of elevated trams that cut through buildings, massive skywalks, rickety but plentiful air travel, few cars on ground level and—the reality—a landscape of proud towering skyscrapers as far as the eye can see.

 The back reads: "Future New York will be pre-eminently the city of skyscrapers. The first steel frame structure regarded as a skyscraper was the Tower Building at 50 Broadway, a 10-story structure 129 feet high. There are now over 1,000 buildings of that height in Manhattan. The best known skyscrapers are the Singer Building, the Metropolitan Building and the Woolworth Tower, which towers above them all and rises to a height of 790 feet. The proposed Pan American Building is to be 801 feet high."

This reminds me of another fantasy of "future New York": rebuilding the World Trade Center. The once-deemed Freedom Tower was supposed to reach rooftop level by the end of 2010 with topping out in 2011. Estimated completion of the tower was then pushed back to 2013. Today, 10 years after toppling, it stands all of 12 stories. Seems to me we were much more accomplished in the 1910s than the 2010s.

No comments:

Post a Comment