Binghamton is the Birthplace of Virtual Reality? Really? Volunteers Needed!

(proposed design by Bruce Greig)


Binghamton? Virtual Reality? Yes! Not just Binghamton but 183-185 Water St., the site of the Parking Ramp by Boscov’s, is where the building blocks of VIRTUAL REALITY were developed:

1. The Bundy Manufacturing Co. (1893-1906) stood at 183-185 Water St., and became the International Time Recording Co (1906-7) and eventually IBM, which, of course, manufactured some of the first computers.
2. The Automatic Musical Co. (1907-14) took over the site to manufacture player pianos, which were robotic innovations.
3. Ed Link, famously, was sitting on the organ bellows at his father’s Link Piano Co. (1914-1933) and got the idea for the Link Flight Simulators (1929, patented 1931) and started Link Aviation and Flying School in that location (1929-34). The Link “blue box” trained WWII pilots.
4. After the devastating floods in 1935 and ’36 the building was not useable and in the late 60’s the Parking Ramp was built in two sections. The American Dance Asylum celebrated the architecture with several performances of the Parking Ramp Dance, which pioneered multi media, video feedback, and dance performances (1978, 1980, 1981, 1984).


Each level of the ramp will document the history and development of the innovative technologies that were created on this one site. So, you might remember that you parked on the time clock level or the player piano level. Each level will have a colorful marking in the ramp as well as the stairwells.

The Department of Public Art is a group of local citizens who are working hard to honor our local history with murals in the Water St. Parking Ramp. The Virtual Reality Murals in the Parking Ramp has been funded in part with a NYS Decentralization grant from the Chenango Co. Arts Council and the Hoyt Foundation. The DPA will be painting in the parking ramp in the summer and fall of 2014. Please join us by volunteering, donating money for paint and materials, and by spreading the word about this effort. Info: E-newsletter sign up at

This project is made possible with public funds from the Chenango Co Arts Council’s Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with support from Gov. Cuomo and the NYS Legislature. Additional support for Broome County provided by the Stewart W & Wilma C Hoyt Foundation.

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