Categories
Holidays

Easter in Old New York: The Fifth Avenue Fashion Stroll

In the picture above: People in Sunday finery stroll past the New York Public Library building. The library had not even been open two years by the time this picture was taken in March 23, 1913. New York City’s time-honored Easter custom — the Sunday morning Fifth Avenue Easter bonnet stroll — once turned the […]

Categories
The First

Unimate and the Rise of the Robots (The First Podcast)

THE FIRST PODCAST This is the history of the future. Robots conjure up thoughts of distant technological landscapes and even apocalyptic scenarios, but the truth is, robots are a very old creation, tracing back to the ancient world. We can thank science fiction writers for inventing new serious ideas about robots, automatons previously relegated as mere […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

A city of bridges: One century ago, Scientific American predicted a future of elevated sidewalks

Imagine a city where the High Line isn’t just a novel park, but the primary form of urban conveyance. In 1913, with the proliferation of the automobile, it seemed humans were being crowded out at ground level.  People were beginning to think of themselves as removed from the street.  Daredevils were experimenting with flight, and […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

TAXI: A History of the New York Taxi Cab

PODCAST The history of the New York City taxicab, from the handsome hansoms of old to the modern issues facing the modern taxi fleet today. In this episode, we recount almost 175 years of getting around New York in a private ride.  The hansom, the romantic rendition of the horse and carriage, took New Yorkers […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

New York City’s “stripped and abandoned” car crisis

The fate of an automobile at Breezy Point, 1973 (Courtesy US National Archives) The abandoned car, that most dramatic symbol of urban blight, is a sight that has pretty much vanished from most New York City streets. (Most, not all.)  In a city refitted for the automobile by the mid 20th century, people just began […]

Categories
Brooklyn History Neighborhoods

No sheep in Sheepshead Bay, but lots of fish with human teeth

The sheepshead is a common variety marine fish known for its distinctive black stripes and a very scary looking set of teeth.  If you look too long at it, you will have nightmares tonight.  Some believe the fish’s unusual name comes from the notion that its teeth actually look like those of adult sheep.  I […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

Motor hotels: Manhattan’s most luxurious parking garage “Your car never touched by human hands!”

If you don’t already check in to the marvelous Modern Mechanix blog from time to time, then you’re missing out on some retro-futuristic genius. The blog usually highlights visionary drawings from the Modern Mechanics archives. But in the case of one illustration from May 1929, one particular wacky, wondrous dream was actually carried out — […]