Solving Cities

New York Times prediction: no racism in 2012?

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In 1962, New York Times published Forecast of New York in 2012 A.D.. Apparently, Americans are not as advanced as was once thought.

"Forecast of New York in 2012 A.D.", The New York Times Magazine, October 7th 1962.

When Robert F. Wagner sat down to write Forecast of New York in 2012 A.D., the United States was 50 hopeful years younger.

On October 7th, 1962, it would take two more months for any politician to publicly express doubt in the Vietnam War.

New York City saw it's first subway train to be operated without a crew on board.

Israel held the internationally covered trail of Adolf Eichmann, who was convicted and hanged in a prison in Ramla.

Andy Warhol debuted his Campbell's Soup Cans in Los Angeles. Then the first Walmart opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.

In 1962 the idea of New York City in the future brought visions of social equality - a social equality as ubiquitous as the current inequality, at least, for Robert F. Wagner.

"Starting from this point, we may safely say that in 2012 New York City will be a  city where all races and nations meet and mingle - a city of many cultures, each of which will be respected and prized," wrote Wagner.

"As for slums, they will be just a memory of a rot that afflicted the city long ago. We may fervently hope that racial discrimination will be ply a legend, referred to as an illustrations of a past shame and injustice based on widespread public ignorance and prejudice.

There will be a series of cultural enclaves, but no racial, national, or even economic segregation. There will still be a Harlem, a Yorkville, a Chelsea, a Riverdale, a Williamsburg, a Lower East Side, a Greenwich Village - but they will be open neighborhoods of people who will live there and not because there is no place else for them to live."

"Yes, the city will still face problems. But they will not be the problems with which we are concerned today. Those will have long been solved.

New York and New Yorkers have, and always will have, many special qualities. But if there is one sense which dominates all others, it is the sense of equality, and the belief in the right of every New Yorker to have equal access to equal opportunity. That is why we have free schools, free colleges, free libraries and museums. But by 2012, those free facilities will have so multiplied that the most concentrated community in the world may also be the most cultured, the most creative, and the most varied - a free and open community of free minds and free spirits."

- Robert F. Wagner

Let SmartPlanet know what you think. Does it surprise you how off-the-mark Wagner was? What is your 'Forecast of New York in 2062 A.D.'?

The New York Times Magazine, October 7th 1962 by Robert F. Wagner

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Sonya James

Contributing Writer

Sonya James is a multimedia producer based in New York. With creativity and innovation in mind, she speaks to diverse voices on topics from racism in the art world to the patriotic nature of southern food. She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development. Disclosure