Imagine walking down the street in Manhattan without getting stuck behind someone either staring down at a phone or posing in front of a selfie stick. While that reality seems sadly impossible now, a stunning high-definition video of 1993 New York will transport you back to a simpler time, when people actually walked with their heads up. Oh, and had unintentionally bad hairstyles.
The video, which recently surfaced on YouTube, captures the gritty NYC of 23 years ago -- back when the MTA still accepted fare tokens, cigarette billboards filled Times Square, and when creepy dudes with rat-tail haircuts shamelessly checked out women on the street (0:59 mark). That last one is admittedly not all that different from today. The footage shows crowds of suit-and-tie business dudes presumably commuting to work, streets full of vintage taxis you'd see on Seinfeld, and the city's dramatically (and tragically) different skyline. Think of it this way: the video was shot 11 years before Shake Shack was established in Madison Square Park.
Ultimately, the clips feel a little spooky, as if you're peering into a parallel universe. The video's surprisingly high quality, best seen in 1080p60 HD, will certainly transfix you for its entirety -- and then leave you thinking about what about today will feel surreal in 25 years.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and vastly prefers present-day New York. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.