A History of New York City Transportation - From Horsecars to Helicopters
Taught by Patrick Lamson-Hall
Patrick Lamson-Hall is an urban planner at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. His interests include urbanization in the developing world, alternative transportation, and public space. Before becoming an urban planner he worked as a journalist, a dishwasher, and an anarchist. He’s currently researching historical densities in Manhattan as well as implementing an urban expansion initiative in four cities in Ethiopia.
By some estimates, for every New Yorker you see walking around on the streets, there’s one New Yorker underground, riding the train. That’s right - 1/2 of New York’s population is on some form of public transportation at any given moment.
This miraculous statistic means that the city we know truly couldn’t exist without its subways, buses, and taxis, but how did all this heavy, stinky, old-fashioned infrastructure get built?
This class covers NYC transportation from the early days, when the best you could hope for was a mud-spattered omnibus ride, through the first steam-powered elevated railroads, all the way up to the Pan Am building helicopter shuttle. It also touches on the many ambitious, zany, quixotic efforts to get us from Point A to Point B. Have you ever been sucked through a tunnel?