On Track

Grand Central Terminal
Takes Off For New Century

One of the most pleasant, vital, and photogenic buildings in New York City reaches today its 100th year anniversary. In the past century, through many incarnations, it went from a prime train hub, to a movie star, to a dilapidated relic, scheduled to be razed just 30 years ago.
It survived, in no small measure thanks to efforts by a famous presidential widow, and it’s ready to welcome travelers for another full century. It offers them a reprieve from their commute, and shelter from the bustling metropolis it symbolizes as few other landmarks of its age.
Built over an old decrepit depot, and largely credited, in functionality and Beaux-Arts style design, to architects Charles Reed and Alfred T. Fellheimer, the popularly known as Grand Central Station of our time has gone through several profound changes, to keep pace with the changing city.

It served well its purpose, splitting transportation duties, and star wattage, with its sister from across town, Pennsylvania Station. It was after WWII, though, that its own existence (and secrets) came into question, since cars and buses seemed destined to take over railways as a preferable commuting means.
In the process, it got in the hit list of controversial urban planner Robert Moses, a man who single-handedly redefined much of what grand public works were supposed to be. Despite many misses, he got a lot Continue reading

Seeing Double

New Class of Glasses Brings
A Clearer Sight For Sore Eyes

Here’s something that Google can’t control: ‘reality augmented’ glasses. Even before its wearable contraption is out, there’s already been challengers to it. And not just to simply enhance what we see, but also to reveal, educate, even warn us about what we may be missing.
Then again, glasses have been around pretty since humans have ears and noses to hang them, so it’d really be rich for the giant search engine to claim that too. But try they do. Thing is, for all the hoopla, the very concept of glasses as a vision enhancer may be on its way out.
There are now glasses that act as computers, smartphones, designing tools, interactive gadgets, revealing devices, and if you’re concerned about all that privacy-busting array of needed connections for these things to work properly, even an infrared visor that blocks facial recognition software.
The possibilities are not just endless, but actually encouraged. In a clever way to market its interactive-able set of lenses, one company is explicitly asking for input from anyone who may have an idea they don’t already own, on how to outfit your shades with that special juice. Quite challenging, really.
But there’s a reason why we don’t sound too jaw-dropping enthusiastic about these next wave of ever shrinking props, which seem ready to become as common as iris biometric identification systems and thought-activated computers. Or rather, a few reasons: the first one is Continue reading