As NJ toll booths go away, what else has disappeared from our lives?
The first tube of the Lincoln Tunnel opened December 21, 1937. It came with a toll booth from the very beginning. Almost 85 years later, on Dec. 11, 2022, the toll booths collected their very last toll.
Not that tolls are going away. The form of collecting them officially went all electronic on Sunday.
For those who don't have EZPass an overhead gantry does it all. It takes a photograph of your license plate and sends your bill in the mail. The only thing you have to slow down for is the traffic in front of you.
Toll booths across the Garden State are going away and will one day soon all be cashless. The toll booth, that cramped little box toll collectors sit in and make change all day, give the occasional directions and the even less frequent smile, will soon be relics.
The evolution of technology seems to be in hyper warp speed as even 20-somethings have seen things first come then grow obsolete in their short lifetimes.
We asked our listeners what things they've seen go away whether it's electronic technology, mechanical, or even just ways of doing business. Here's just some of what was talked about that hour.
CD players in cars
Remember when those replaced cassette decks in your dashboard? Music is no longer a tactile thing with digital downloads. For that matter remember recordable CDs? You could make your own mix for heading down the shore.
You may see some. But no one uses them. My theory is they needed something for people to trip over in the vestibule of apartment complexes where they’d sit on the floor untaken for months.
Cigarette vending machines
I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw one of these. But it was probably in some dive bar somewhere. They used to be everywhere including groceries store entrances.
Once upon a time televisions had these mysterious tubes where you could open up the back and remove a burned out one and go to the store to buy a new one.
They would actually come to your house. You knew it was serious if they had to bring it to the shop. And because televisions used to be embedded in huge heavy consoles made of wood it was quite an undertaking. Now we don’t repair. We replace.
Writing on a blackboard with chalk was once standard. Every school I know of today has smart board technology.
A long time ago women were not allowed in public swimming pools without a bathing cap because it was believed their long hair would interfere with the filters. Maybe it was really just that they needed someplace to attach corny plastic flowers.
Unless prisoners are still allowed to make them we were all pretty certain it’s a thing of the past.
Not exactly extinct, but they’re heading that way. Did you know less than 30% of American households now bother having a landline? The vast majority of us are cell phone only.
There are so many more.
Video rental stores are gone. Record shops are gone except for some hipster vinyl throwback shops.
Ice cube trays will soon be history as more and more you get them dispensed through the refrigerator door.
Cigarette lighters in cars, the signal tube at gas pumps to let the guy working in the garage know a car pulled up, pay phones, the stepping mat in front of retailers’ electric doors, and on and on.
And if you think these changes are the sort of thing only old people notice, how about plastic bags at New Jersey grocery stores?
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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