Alidar Jarok wrote:
BTW, the reason Angels Take Manhattan takes place in 2012 probably has to do with the fact that the skyline in 2016 will look obviously different than it does now because the construction of the new World Trade Center will be done. It's better to play it on the safe side and say that it's 2012.
That's not a plot-related reason, of course, but it still makes sense as the reason.
A likely and logical explanation. This wouldn't really be an issue if the Ponds were still the Doctor's regular companions. Then we could just assume they were last at Silver Devastation some couple thousand years in the future, and then the Doctor's next trip was New York 2012. Maybe he meant to show up a few years later and simply mixed up?
However, the surprise he shows over Amy wearing glasses kind of implies they aren't regular companions and that he just picked them up for a trip. So assuming the Ponds are from 2016 or 17, the Doctor shows up and takes them to New York four or five years earlier. Which doesn't really seem all that exciting a trip through time. It's like what the Ninth Doctor said in Father's Day. "The past is another country. 1987 is just a mile away."