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June 2004

Wheel Life Begins

To New Yorkers around 1910, it may have seemed as though all the automobiles in the U.S. had converged on Fifth Avenue. The city had its share of the wealthy, and cars were a rich man's toy. Manhattan also boasted something much of the country lacked: well-paved roads. Those roads were about to get busier.

In 1913 Henry Ford's new factory assembly line made mass production of cars possible. By 1920 about half the 9.2 million vehicles in the United States were Ford Model T's. As supply grew, prices dropped, and automakers offered installment plans to make purchasing cars easier.

But in New York, at least, parking them only got more difficult.       

—Margaret G. Zackowitz
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Photograph courtesy General Motors Photographic Section, submitted by Automobile Manufacturers Association

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