New York City has often embodied the cutting edge of urban design; the limited space on Manhattan forced builders to think big. Those first skyscrapers ushered in a new kind of city, and where New York led, others followed.
For decades, artists, architects and writers have tried to imagine what this great city would look like in the future. Some imagined towers that soared into the clouds; others predicted railways that rushed many storeys above the city streets, sharing the skyspace with roaming airships. Monorails zoomed along snaking rails, and giant helicopter airliners disgorged passengers on Manhattan boulevards. Even the humble postman was replaced in one vision – the mail flying to homes in pneumatic tubes.
Many of these fantastical visions failed to make it into real life, but that makes them no less fascinating - they reflect their era’s hopes and ambitions. BBC Future took a look through the archives at a brave new Big Apple.
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