15 October 2017

The romantic past of telephony, revisited

I was fortunate to find myself in New York on the weekend of Open House New York, an annual opportunity to visit architecturally interesting sites that aren't always open to the public. I made a point of getting to the lobby of the AT&T Long Distance Building near Canal Street, to see the magnificent Art Deco renderings of golden-stranded Long Lines connecting far-flung continents and converging on the very building where I stood. Worldwide communication isn't the exotic (or expensive!) thing it was then, and is generally assumed rather than celebrated, but it was a treat to look back to a day when it evoked wonder and mythology and when switching centers were miraculous!

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