New York City in 2108
In 1908, the New York Times wrote about visions of 2008. ""We may have aeroplanes winging the once inconquerable air. The tides that ebb and flow to waste may take the place of our spent coal and flash their strength by wire to every point of need." (they could write back then!)
This year, they repeated the exercise and asked 10 New Yorkers about their visions. For those of us who spend too much time reading Geroge Monbiot on climate chaos or Jim Kunstler on life after the oil runs out, it is a change from the usual doom and gloom. Some excerpts:
Francisco Mujica from FUTURE CITY: 20 | 21 at the Skyscraper Museum
KIM HASTREITER: The island of Manhattan in 2108 is half the size of what it was a hundred years ago; Seventh Avenue and Third Avenue are waterfront. Richard Meier's glass towers are under water and filled with schools of phosphorescent fish; tourists come by submarine taxi to see them.
The tropical temperatures have brought a huge alligator problem to Central Park, although New Yorkers have recently taken to taming alligators from birth and keeping them as pets. The city's first "alligator run" has just opened in Washington Square Park, which is now lush with palm trees.
CAROL WILLIS: If the city is not under water, it will look much the way it does now. People will value the historic character of the city, much as modern Parisians preserve the 19th-century city and modern Romans preserve the Renaissance city.
There will be little opportunity to build the tallest buildings here anymore, but the skins of buildings will change. The technology of glass is improving rapidly; glass will be infinitely more sophisticated, both more energy-efficient and energy-generating. The glass facades will be screens for the projection of images.
seventh grader KATE KAPLAN: The city will be all skyscrapers, no more town houses and brownstones. Buildings will connect to each other through an aboveground tunnel system. You'll no longer have to worry about finding a bathroom; you'll just carry a small chip with you that can expand into a private portable toilet.
Central Park will be preserved in a bubble to protect it from the adverse effects of global warming. Everything will be shiny and nice and big. The subway cars and stations will have TVs in them. The Empire State Building will no longer be New York's largest building; it will probably be replaced by a giant Starbucks. Madame Tussaud's wax figures will have robotic capabilities.
Finally, instead of antidepressants, doctors will make people happy by implanting chips in their heads with comedy routines and programs, like my favorite, "The Colbert Report."