Greenpoint, October, 2015

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Have Seen the Futurama

I have seen I Have Seen the Future, the exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York dedicated to Norman Bel Geddes. Bel Geddes was interested in everything design could affect: gas ranges, vacuum cleaners, cocktail shakers, theater sets, houses (with and without walls), and, of course, cars.

Model Car 9 (1939)
Not only cars, but highways. NBG's vision for the "motorway" of the future is preserved in the 23- minute film "To New Horizons," made by General Motors for its Futurama exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1939-40.

From the film's narration:

And now we see an enlarged section of 1960's express motorway. Along the ledge of this beautiful precipice, traffic moves at unreduced rates of speed. Safe distance between cars is maintained by automatic radio control. Curved sides assist the driver in keeping his car in the proper lane under all circumstances. The keynote of this motorway: safety. Safety with increased speed.

Each NBG sub-shaped car or bus barrels along it its own curved track, like a ball in roulette wheel or a luge. There doesn't appear to be any provision for exits or on-ramps. Who needs 'em? (It would certainly solve the driving while texting problem.)

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