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Fri Nov 16, 2012, 05:46 PM

Europeans Are Laughing At U.S.' Decaying & Antiquated Infrastructure, Utilities, Transportation [View all]

America’s Mid-20th-Century Infrastructure

Europeans visiting the Northeastern United States – and many parts of the East Coast — can show their children what Europe’s infrastructure looked like during the 1960s.

In New York, they can take taxis bumping over streets marked by potholes. European children might find it funny. They can descend into a dingy and grimy underground world to ride New York City’s quaint and screeching subway system, if they can figure out where trains go.

snip

Even more wondrous than the archaic subway and rail system and the potholes in the streets is the system of distributing electric power to households and factories in large parts of the Northeastern United States. Power is often still carried on lines that hang in graceful catenaries of various depths from poles that lean left or right randomly but rarely stand straight. And which are vulnerable to powerful storms, like Hurricane Sandy.

When a German high-school classmate visited me, we came upon the intersection below, less than a mile from the center of Princeton, N.J. My friend burst out laughing at the abundance of wires in every direction, something he had seen only on his travels to the developing world.



I spent half a day hunting for a store with flashlights in stock, because a storm had knocked out our power. In five decades in Germany I have never experienced a single power failure, because the power lines are usually underground and well maintained.




Imagine that – life without power failures! In much of the Northeastern United States – and perhaps in many other parts of the country as well – lengthy power disruptions are part of the American way of life. In Princeton, they occur somewhere in the township after almost every thunderstorm or snowstorm, as branches snap from trees and take down vulnerable power lines.


http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/16/americas-mid-20th-century-infrastructure/?ref=business

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