Animated Manhattan: Futurama
Part 8 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.
On December 31, 1999, pizza delivery guy Philip J. Fry delivers a pizza to a cryogenics lab in Manhattan and through a series of unfortunate events is accidentally frozen for 1000 years. While he’s in deep freeze, we can see time passing visibly outside the window. We see New York City completely destroyed by aliens (except, for some reason, the building the cryogenics lab is in) and eventually rebuilt as New New York City, where Fry wakes up on New Year’s Eve, 2999.
That’s the premise of Futurama, the cancelled animated series by Simpsons creator Matt Groening which aired on FOX for four seasons and can now be seen in syndication and on DVD.
In New New York, the subway system has been replaced with the New New York Tube System, which whisks people across town. In Fry’s first experience with the tube system, we see it snaking through the city. It goes underwater, passing a sunken Circle Line Cruise boat. It winds past the Statue of Liberty (was it recreated? or is it still standing?), which supports the tube where the torch used to be.
In the pilot episode, Fry takes a tour of underground New New York, where the remnants of New York City can be found. The Chrysler Building’s once shiny spire lies on its side. Rockefeller Center’s skating rink has become the swamp-like home of an alien creature.
Some of old New York City has been recreated a bit differently in New New York. Luna Park, for example, is no longer an amusement park in Brooklyn. Luna Park is now an amusement park on, well, the moon.
And in memory of Madison Square Garden, a new sports arena has been erected: Madison Cube Garden.
Thankfully, a good slice of pizza can still be found in New New York. Original Cosmic Ray’s Pizza serves its customers a steaming slice as only an Original Rays Pizzeria can.
(My rating is for the series’ depiction of NYC only)