Motoramic

November 27: The first permit to drive through Central Park was issued on this date in 1889

Justin Hyde
Motoramic

New York was setting trends for the rest of the world even in the 1880s, and on this date in 1889, the president of the New York Parks Department issued the first permit to one Curtis P. Brady "to enter upon and pass over the drives of Central Park with his electric automobile runabout." Said permit required Brady to "exercise the greatest care" to avoid scaring horses and other users of the park. History didn't record exactly what kind of vehicle Brady drove; the one in the photo above dates to 1890, and provides a rough idea of what electric power was capable of in that era. At that moment, gas or liquid-fueled vehicles were still a noisy hobby; electric cars offered quieter running and more power, albeit only for short distances — like a drive in the park.

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