Saturday, June 28, 2008

Internal Combustion Vehicles: Well, We Had A Good 100 Years

I was Metafiltering a few days ago, and ran across a link to this message board posting with tons of great historical photos of Manhattan (the Island, not the college town). Two stood out for non-architectural reasons (although the architecture is amazing throughout, including the old Singer Building):

This one is captioned "The Belmont Coach, 1905, four horses. Dogs run free."

And this one is entitled "Herald Square, 1909. Skyscraper beyond is NY Times Building in Times Sq. Cars have replaced horses."

So from 1905 to 1909 Manhattan went dramatically from transportation via horse & carriage to cars/trolley. Thanks, Model T.

Now, 100 years later, many of us are all in a tizzy over the death of the Tin Lizzie.

And a few of us are, metaphorically, hocking up a loogie to spit on the 20th century automobile's grave. Okay, that imagery is a bit harsh. How about we just pour some pre-Volstead Act hooch on the internal combustion family plot, do the Charleston for good measure, and get on to the next generation in human transportation?

Exciting times.

Meanwhile, I really suggest you check out the full posting of NYC photographs. I've shrunk the examples above, and you can easily spend two hours just looking at all of them in their full-sized glory.

P.S.: John Fleck has a online-only post on the Journal site this morning looking for input on the question of taxpayers helping foot the bill for an expanded and integrated regional transit system. Based on the first posted response, 21st Century transportation is one of those issues that really brings out the stupid in people:
NO I would not approve a Transit Tax. Let Bill Richardson and the State of New Mexico need to come come up with the Monies for the Railrunner. Why is this Tax passed on to people. The Federal Goverment and The State of New Mexico need to pay this Bill. The Middle class is being destroyed with this Transit tax, Carbon tax, New environment taxes.
I started to write up a few withering remarks about how stupid the above paragraph is, but nothing I can come up compares with the original. Breathtaking. I propose the above comment be put on the internal combustion engine's tombstone.

No comments: