Times Square in New York City through the years, from stardust to stardust:
-5,000,000,000: The atoms that will make up Time Square are part of a dust cloud between the stars, blasted there by the death of a star. The dust is forming into the Sun and the planets.
-1,000,000,000: Times Square is near South Africa as part of the supercontinent of Rodinia. There are no plants or animals – just blue-green algae covering the oceans far away.
-500,000,000: At the bottom of the sea. Will remain there till the Appalachian mountains start to rise up out of the ocean in about 50 million years.
-250,000,000: In the tropics. Crosses north of the equator. Near north-west Africa as part of the supercontinent of Pangea.
-1,800,000: Ice ages begin.
-1,000,000: Between ice ages, fairly warm, but dangerous: there are hyenas (Chasmaporthetes), dire wolves (Canis dirus) and sabre-toothed cats (Smilodon fatalis, pictured). There are also birds, squirrels, deer, wolves and black bears.
-20,0000: under the giant glacier that gives us Staten Island, Long Island and much of the present landscape.
-8,000: The ice is gone. No earthworms yet – they are still crawling north from Virginia. And no people either: they are still walking east from Asia. Mastodons (Mammut americanum, pictured) are dying out.
-7,000: The first people.
1000: An old growth forest with wolves, coyotes, mountain lions (Puma concolor) and passenger pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius, pictured). Deer too, but not as many as you would think. By now the Delaware (aka Lenape) have arrived.
1609: There is now an Indian trail. It will become Broadway. You might see bald eagles, passenger pigeons, ducks, hawks, ravens, robins, crows, mice, voles, turtles, frogs, maple trees, chestnut trees and black cherries. You might see the Delaware hunting, but it is unlikely any of them live there. Main language: Munsee.
1776: It is now a farm, belonging to John Morin Scott, an Anglo American who raises horses and fights under George Washington.
1803: John Jacob Astor buys Scott’s farm and makes a fortune as New York City spreads north and land values go up.
1872: Centre of the city’s horse carriage industry.
1898: A place of electric lights, theatres, cafes and restaurants.
1904: The New York Times builds its headquarters at 42nd and Broadway. Times Square gets its name, its first electrified sign and its first New Year’s Eve celebration.
1907: The New Year’s Eve ball drops for the first time.
1,000,000: Glaciers have ground the Time Square we know to dust. All that is left is a buried layer of shredded plastic, the remains of Coke bottles, shopping bags, etc.
250,000,000: Times Square is once again in the middle of a supercontinent near South Africa, but this time it is high in a mountain range.
1,000,000,000: The Sun has grown so hot that the oceans have boiled away. The sky is no longer blue: it is always covered in cloud. The Earth is like Venus.
5,000,000,000: The atoms that made up Time Square are part of a dust cloud between the stars, blasted there by the Sun when it became so big it destroyed the Earth.
– Abagond, 2017.
- When things began
- Fatboy Slim: Right Here, Right Now
- Human evolution: the last 4 billion years
- The Delaware
- Anglo Americans
- New York City
- The Ford – upon which New York taxis were based till about 2008.
- Nathaniel Wyeth – inventor of the plastic Coke bottle
- 1949 according to this blog