Look! Up In The Sky. It’s A Car

Boyleing Points

The New York World’s Fair in 1964 and 1965 was a big deal. It was so great everybody wanted to see the next one, which was called Expo 67 in Montreal. That one must’ve been a dud because nobody can name another that came after. We’ve even had them in the United States. Knoxville kinda rings a bell but don’t try telling me you remember New Orleans or, yikes, the San Antonio version. San Antonio, a world’s fair? Who knew?

Right before New York, Seattle had a World’s Fair. Seattle wasn’t a great metropolis but it was a big enough deal to inspire an Elvis movie, It Happened at the World’s Fair.

Maybe Epcot and Disney World and places like that ruined World Fairs, I don’t know.  The amusement parks have certainly pushed World Fairs to the far corners of the earth. This year, the World’s Fair is in Astana, Kazakhstan. It’s a 16-hour flight if you were wondering. And speaking of flying, that’s really the point about this week’s column. You know what the great New York World’s Fair did?  It created huge expectations for two things. A monorail to replace the subway and Jetpacks.

The New York exhibit rolled out as the space age was developing and plans for a moon landing were on the drawing board. If they could put a man on the moon they could certainly make the George Jetson jetpack a reality for the rest of us. Turns out, it was easier to fake the moon landing than fake personal jetpacks. 

Fifty odd years later, people are still taking the A train instead of a monorail. And fifty odd years later, people are still taking the A train because they don’t have a personal jetpack.  And that’s bull, man. We were promised progress. We got diddly.

Yeah, ok, we got the ferry. But they had them 150 years ago. That’s progress?

Ah, my tech savvy pals tell me, don’t be so impatient.  Stop complaining about Select Bus Service choking Woodhaven. Stop holding out hope for the Queensrail, the reactivation of a track that could get you to Manhattan from Rockaway in 35 minutes.  And forget the jetpack.

It’s Uber and some Germans, they say. Better than a jetpack. Huh? Uber. Uber Germans?  Sounds ominous. You know Uber? Yea, I know Uber. Well, Uber is starting to use driverless cars. But that’s just a necessary step in their ultimate goal. They and some German guys are building flying taxis. They take off and land vertically and are quiet. And won’t have human pilots. There’s a race to get there first. 

Companies are even partnering with real estate companies so they can establish landing pads on buildings. They’re already working with the Federal Aviation Agency on routes and such. Oh, real estate tip: buy buildings with flat roofs.

It sounds nuts, right? Never happen? Well, they’re saying Dallas and Dubai are two cities that will test these things in 2020! It’s true that there are some technological things to be ironed out – like increased battery life--but 2020?  We won’t have to wait long to find out if it’s a bunch of bull or not.

Just one thing to keep in mind. The Wright Brothers'  first flight in 1903 went 120 feet.

Just eleven years later the airplane was being used in World War 1.

So here’s a real estate tip: buy buildings with flat roofs.  And then add metered parking.

You’ll end up so rich you’ll be able to afford a jetpack.

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