In movies and TV shows about New York City, you never notice traffic lights. Yes, the city does have them, but it didn’t until 1920 and has had a variety of traffic control signals since then, including police officers posted at every intersection to manually direct traffic.

The New York Times looks at the history of traffic lights in the city,from the first ones mounted on rickety platforms to later bronze and granite towers that were eventually the victim of the very traffic they were supposed to control.
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