Posts Tagged ‘New York of the future’

Futuristic plans for Times Square made in 1962

December 14, 2012

Still hating the new, PG-rated Times Square? You might reconsider after checking out this space-age redevelopment plan, proposed in 1962 as the neighborhood began its postwar slide into seediness.

The plan, from an area merchants’ association, depicts 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues as a two-story suburbanesque mall, according to Times Square Spectacular by Darcy Tell.


“The plans called for restoration of live theater at some of the ten remaining theaters, glass-fronted retail all along the blocks, and pedestrian walkways above the street,” writes Tell. Needless to say, that idea went no where.

In 1964, a second plan was introduced, featuring a giant convention center. “Included were exhibition galleries, promenades, a hotel, a high-rise office building, and an underpass down the middle of 42nd Street,” states Tell.

Other proposals made the rounds for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1990s when a plan that paired “the visually rich melange of past days with signature new anchor buildings,” as Tell puts it, became reality.

[Photo: Times Square Spectacular, page 138]

“New York City as It Will Be in 1999”

December 29, 2011

Well, not exactly. But aside from the spaceship-like flying machines, the skyscraper-packed island isn’t so far off the mark.

It was published in the New York World on December 30, 1900. The Skyscraper Museum has a fascinating writeup about it, which was part of an exhibit on future New York:

“Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World was one of the most widely read newspapers of its day. The Sunday edition, which could sell as many as half a million or more copies around the United States, was filled with colorful artwork, cartoons, and cultural commentary.

“At the turn of the twentieth century, one of the World‘s most popular illustrators, Louis Biedermann, speculated on the future New York in 1999 in a lavish two-page spread that pictured Manhattan solidly packed with skyscrapers, including behemoth towers at least a hundred-stories tall, sporting landing platforms of airships.

“At a time when there were no controls on high-rise development, Biedermann’s illustration exaggerated present trends and technologies and reflected both the fascination and fears of unconstrained growth.”