Douglas Newby
Architecturally Significant Homes
Horse & Trolly

Period Photograph Before Its Time

This casual photograph taken in the early spring of 2019 is current, but the photograph already feels dated.This is not a picture taken in Cuba with its arrested political and physical development and is not a small town in the Midwest where current civilization and trends have not yet landed. This is New York. This is Manhattan. This is where North American trends originate. But still I look at the photograph and already feel 50 years in the past because we are so close to having such a different urban future. Will we have Yellow Cabs in the next few years? I don’t think so. Will there be intervals of empty streets in the late afternoon in the middle of the largest city in the country? I don’t think so. It is not the historic buildings that make this photograph look like a period image before its time. Classical architecture is a wonderful backdrop for any technology that is emerging. Archaic predetermined streetlight timers are not going to regulate the flow of air taxis, drones, mini-vehicles, autonomous transportation devices, and shared lanes of pedestrians and myriad forms of movement. Uber is planning on relocating a major part of their corporation to Dallas, also chosen as a demonstration area for their air taxis and other forms of advanced transportation. Are younger cities like Dallas more open to technology or less resistant to change than New York? Will New York regulation, unions, and urban tradition keep Yellow Cabs as the look of the future? I still don’t think so. I suggest anyone living or visiting New York enhale the street scenes of Manhattan that will seem as quaint as pictures of horses and buggies on New York streets a hundred years ago. *Period Photograph Before Its Time
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