THE CONSTANT FUTURE:
A CENTURY OF THE REGIONAL PLAN
The Two-Story Installation is Free to the Public
7 days a week, from 11 am to 7 pm
October 7 to October 24, 2022
A spectacular large-scale exhibition sponsored by the Regional Plan Association brings a new way of seeing New York—and understanding its rise to greatness—to the majestic interiors of Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal.
The Constant Future: A Century of the Regional Plan is produced by the RPA to celebrate its centennial—100 years since the commencement of work on its original Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs in 1922—and designed and produced by the architect James Sanders, co-writer and producer with Ric Burns of the Emmy Award-winning eight-part PBS series, New York: A Documentary Film.
Within the exhibition, dramatic photo-murals floating overhead transport visitors to a “dream city” of imagination and possibilities, of dazzling urban visions, built and unbuilt—and of the transformative ideas that have reshaped New York, its surrounding region, and, in time, cities all around the world.
At eye-level, a series of large display panels combine engaging text, a rich array of images, and fascinating archival video sequences to trace the epic story of New York and its environs: the first urban area in the world to reconceive itself as a regional metropolis.
In the exhibition, the four landmark Regional Plans—from 1929, 1968, 1996, and 2017—will serve as an armature around which the story of the metropolis revolves. Intertwined are many of the most crucial events, trends, figures, and themes of the city and its region over the past century—from the rise of the car and highway in the 1920s to postwar “white flight” to the city’s rebirth after 9/11, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Jane Jacobs to Michael Bloomberg, from the GM Futurama to the High Line to Superstorm Sandy. Not least of these is the “secret history” of the complex, decades-long relationship of the Regional Plan and the legendary New York power broker Robert Moses, who drew many of his grandest, region-shaping ideas from the Plan’s proposals—though he never publicly acknowledged the debt.
Bringing the century-long story up to the present moment—as the city and region attempt to recover from an unprecedented three-year crisis and look to shape their future yet again—the exhibition will conclude with an interactive QR display that asks viewers to imagine their own future of New York and its region and contribute ideas to a broader conversation which, with the extraordinary events of the recent past, has grown more urgent and open-ended than ever.
Filled with ideas and stories, brought to life by an astonishing assemblage of images (nearly all drawn from the Association’s own archives), and set within one of America’s grandest urban landmarks—a bustling regional transportation hub that is itself an unmatched symbol of the values of the RPA—The Constant Future: A Century of the Regional Plan will offer viewers a sweeping overview of America’s greatest metropolis, and explore as perhaps never before the very notion of planning itself: the inspired imagining—and detailed envisioning—of a city, a region, and a world still to come.
Friday, October 7, 2022 -
Monday, October 24, 2022
11:00am - 7:00pm
Grand Central Terminal
89 E 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017