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Entries in skyscrapers (5)

Friday
Jul092010

Future New York, The City of Skyscrapers (1925)

This postcard from 1925 imagines future New York City, "The City of Skyscrapers." Utopian New York of the 1920s sure had a lot of levels, with a system of elevated trains, some beautiful flying contraptions, and towering skyscrapers reaching toward the heavens. I'm fascinated by New York futurism, as it generally had a more rugged or old world vibe (even in its utopian form) than the futurism of the shiny western United States.

Of course New York is a favorite setting for the apocalyptic as well. Just yesterday my friend Brian Horrigan, co-author of the book Yesterday's Tomorrows, told me about a decidedly apocalyptic book focusing on New York that I can't wait to get my hands on, The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fear, and Premonitions of New York's Destruction

The postcard is from my personal collection, but the date I'm using is based upon Corbis Images.

UPDATE: Though the identical colorized image from Corbis may very well be from 1925, I've found earlier sources of this image from travel guide publisher Moses King, dating back to 1911.

FUTURE NEW YORK will be pre-eminently the city of skyscrapers. The first steel frame structure that was regarded as a skyscraper was the Tower Building at 50 Broadway, a ten story structure 129 feet high. There are now over a thousand building of that height in Manhattan. The best known skyscrapers are the Singer Building, 612 feet high, the Metropolitan Building, 700 feet high; 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.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future: 

 

Friday
Jan292010

Plastic Skyscrapers and Frozen Dinners (1945)

I don't want to miss plastic skyscrapers; frozen-food dinners in one package... wireless transmission of electricity; the chance to live energetically to the grand old age of 150 years. Screwball? Nothing of the kind. All of these things are here already in the minds of men; in scientific possibility; in materials. They just have to be put together. -- Eddie Rickenbacker, 1945

 

 

From the book Future: A Recent History by Lawrence R. Samuel.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Jan032009

Horizontal Cities of 2031 (1931)

The December 6, 1931 Daily Capital News and Post-Tribune (Jefferson City, MO) ran a short blurb about Francis Keally's predictions for the city of 2031. Keally (1889-1978) was an architect who worked on the Oregon state capitol building in Salem, which was completed in 1938.

Francis Keally thinks that our future cities will spread out over great areas like monstrous eagles. One hundred years from today we shall have no batteries of skyscrapers to point out to our trans-Atlantic visitors. On the contrary our future cities, because of the aerial eye, will be flat-topped, and two out of every three buildings will serve as some kind of landing area for a super-auto gyroplane or a transcontinental express. What towers there are will be built at a great distance from the airports and will serve as mooring masts for giant dirigibles. The architects of our future aerial cities may have to go back to places like Constantinople and Fez for their inspiration of these future flat-topped aerial cities where one finds a low horizontal character to the entire city, occasionally broken here and there by a praying tower or a minaret.

Francis Keally also had an idea in the August, 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics for glass banks.

Previously on Paleo-Future:
The Family Plane of 2030 A.D. (1930)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

Sunday
Oct142007

Future City: 20 | 21

The Skyscraper Museum, at 39 Battery Place in New York, has an exhibit opening at the end of the month that will certainly interest paleo-futurists.

New York Modern, which opens on October 24 and runs through March 2008, looks back at prophecies of the skyscraper city in the early 20th century when the first dreams of a fantastic vertical metropolis took shape. From the invention of the tall office building and high-rise hotels in the late 19th century, New York began to expand upward, and by 1900, the idea of unbridled growth and inevitably increasing congestion was lampooned in cartoons in the popular press and critiqued by prominent architects and urban reformers.

(Found via Suggested Donation)

See also:
The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)
New London in the Future (1909)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
The Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)

Monday
Apr022007

The Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)

In the year 1901 Arthur Palm, a fourteen-year-old student from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, published an article in his school newspaper (the Excelsior) describing the world of 2001. Below is an excerpt of his article as featured in the book Yesterday's Future: The Twentieth Century Begins (Voices of the Wisconsin Past).

"How it may appear a hundred years hence, when modern inventions have been carried to their highest point of development that even Edison would feel jealous of the great inventions in the year 2001. In the year 2001 you will see sky-scrapers sticking far above the clouds over 200 stories high. On the streets there will not be any room for street cars, so they will build lines way up in the air, and there will be landings fastened to the high skyscrapers, where the people will wait for the cars. The carlines will have different kinds of names and you will see the name "Manhattan Air Line" many hundreds of feet above the ground. You see air-ships and carriages fastened to balloons for the transportation of the people through the air, and you will often see collisions in the clouds. In one of the sky-scrapers on the 119 story you will see a sign, 'Old People Restored to Youth by Electricity, While You Wait.'"

The belief that electricity would eventually cure all ills was surprisingly common. I guess that's why I'm so amazed that people still receive electro-shock therapy. It seems so primitive and naive.