February 1, 2013, will be the 100th anniversary of the opening of Grand Central Terminal. To help prepare for the occasion, Metro-North electricians polished and dusted the historic melon chandeliers that illuminate the Terminal, and replaced bulbs as needed. When the chandeliers were installed a century ago, they carried bare, energy-hungry incandescent bulbs. Today they use efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that use just 5 watts to provide the same amount of light as the previous 25-watt bulbs. Each chandelier holds 110 light bulbs.
Amazing technology would allow for underground parks in NYC
If you’ve been to Manhattan ever, you’ll also know that space is at a premium, and there are few open spaces left to grow leafy green things or build a park. Dubbed the LowLine, the project would convert an old underground trolley car station, abandoned in 1948 and untouched since, into a 1.5 acre underground park. But how? This is where the science comes in: they’ve developed the technology to transmit sunlight underground. Using large parabolic mirrors and a fiber optic relay, sunlight from the surface would be shuttled to the park and then redisbursed, allegedly yielding enough light for photosynthesis. As shown in the artist’s renderings above, the park could house trees, grass, farmers markets, or art installations, all year round, rain or shine.
In 1820 a little-known architect named Thomas Wilson proposed a plan for “a metropolitan cemetery on a scale commensurate with the necessities of the largest city in the world, embracing prospectively the demands of centuries, sufficiently capacious to receive five million of the dead, where they may repose in perfect security, without interfering with the comfort, the health, the business, the property, or the pursuits of the living.” What he proposed, in short, was a massive pyramid, its base covering eighteen acres and its height well above that of St. Peter’s Cathedral—a metropolitan sepulcher, a skyscraper for the dead.