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by Peter Moskos

December 17, 2010

Change is Bad: Poughkeepsie

I like then-and-now shots of life in America. I posted two of Newburgh a while back and got some interest.

This one of downtown Poughkeepsie, NY, isn't as dramatic or depressing a change as was Newburgh, but is it really to much to ask for things to be better today than they were 99 years ago? Apparently, when it comes to our downtowns, the answer is yes.
Then there were businesses and streetcars and pretty brick streets with wide sidewalks (and people using them). Then they narrowed the sidewalk, removed the nice street lights, paved over the bricks and streetcar tracks, and replaced handsome buildings with ugly buildings. Now the street is wide and smooth enough to accommodate parked cars, parked right in front of vacant store fronts.

My point isn't that change is bad (though it often is), but that we can choose how we want our cities to look and live. And a lot of bad choices have been made. All in the name of "progress."

The old picture is nice enough that it's worth going to the Shorpy website to see the full-sized image.


Gotti Rules said...


Not all change is bad. Take a good look at the old photo and you will see a cart being pulled by a horse. Do you know how bad horse shit smells like in the summer heat?? This change is for the better of public health. Unless you enjoy the smell of horse shit.

MisguidedPotential said...

Horse shit is probably healthier than breathing in the exhaust of a million automobiles. Not to mention you can probably overdose on horse shit to this day just by walking along the border of Central Park West :)

PCM said...

Horse shit may be healthier But man, if we're talking millions, I'd prefer the car exhaust!

That's funny you mention the border of Central Park. I bike by all the horses on the south-east corner of Central park and across 59th Street every time I go to school. And I do have to avoid their shit. But I like seeing them there... and I don't even like horses!