Technology and Society: The Influence of Machines in the United States

By S. Mckee Rosen ; Laura Rosen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
THE DEVELOPMENT OF URBAN COMMUNITIES
AND SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION

The City

Modern life, we are told, is bereft of adventure. Hunting, valorous fighting, braving the wilds, facing intense physical hardship—all have passed from the realm of ordinary existence. In their stead have come a monotonous routine of work, repetitive treading over avenues of communication and transportation, and encounters with singularly dull situations in the normal course of affairs. Yet, with proper endowment of strength and imagination, cannot the citizen today achieve the same sense of expectancy which the frontiersman felt poignantly within himself?

A trip to the top of the Empire State Building stimulates such feeling. Towards summer, a bright and sunlit afternoon allows clear vision for miles about. Factories and office buildings, residential sites, railroad terminals, networks of streets and highways. Then gradually dusk approaches; the sun sets; lights begin to flicker. It is night. A myriad of bright spots shine out: illumination on the masts of ships, on the tops of buses, on the marquees of theaters; red and green traffic signals, neon signs of every hue and shade; rotating advertisements. At such times the impetus of modern life makes itself felt. The drive towards a thousand goals. This is New York, the commercial center of the world, the industrial center of the world.

There are countless miniature New Yorks in the United States. Each reflects in its own way the modern pulse of humanity. Each has a tempo, a raison d'être. Each has its show places which, upon cursory glance, tower above all else; its slums which assume importance on closer view.

-243-

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