The Routes Not Taken
A Trip Through New York City's Unbuilt Subway System
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
My desire to tell the story of the New York City’s unbuilt subway lines and the efforts to bring subway service to the areas not now served by rapid transit began by accident more than twenty years ago....
Building (and Not Building) New York City’s Subway System
Robert A. Van Wyck, the first mayor of the Greater City of New York, broke ground for the first subway line, near City Hall, on March 24, 1900. George B. McClellan, the third mayor of the five boroughs, officiated at its opening on October 27, 1904. It took four years, seven months, and three days to build the line from City Hall to West 145th Street in Harlem....
Sound to Shore
Th e Brooklyn–Queens Crosstown line was part of the IND’s first phase. Its first segment, between the Queens Plaza and Nassau Avenue stations, opened on August 19, 1933; the second, connecting with the Smith Street line at the Bergen Street station, opened on July 1, 1937....
Why the No. 7 Line Stops in Flushing
The neighborhoods in Queens served by the Flushing line show the impact that rapid transit can have on residential, commercial, and industrial development. Bracketed by Hunters Point and Flushing, two of the oldest neighborhoods in Queens, the Flushing line, known to most riders as the No. 7 line,1 went through largely undeveloped land when its first segment was built to 103rd Street and Roo se velt Avenue in Corona in 1917....
Th e Battle of the Northeast Bronx, Part 1
The expansion of the subway system helped to bring social and economic change to the Bronx. As IRT lines extended to the northern reaches of the borough and the New York, Westchester, and Boston Railway (W&B) from Hunts Point to past the city line, developers of large properties recognized the land’s potential. “Th e faster the Interborough puts through ser vice in operation on the White Plains [Road] line the quicker ...
Buy Land Now, Ride the Subway Later
In the early de cades of the twentieth century, real estate developers saw the benefits of buying land along the route of subway lines that were proposed, planned, or built. One company with that foresight was Wood, Harmon, and Company....
Ashland Place and the Mysteries of 76th Street
When talking about the New York City subway system’s unbuilt lines, someone will inevitably bring up the existence of the 76th Street station on what would have been the IND Fulton Street line’s extension into eastern Queens. Supposedly located in Ozone Park, the station and line segment are alleged to have been built during the 1940s....
To the City Limits and Beyond
Th e Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access (ESA) program is the most substantial expansion of New York’s commuter rail system since the Long Island Rail Road extended into Pennsylvania Station a century ago. Using the 63rd Street Tunnel’s lower level, trains will run from the Sunnyside Yards in Queens to a new station...
Th e Battle of the Northeast Bronx, Part 2
Th e New York, Westchester, and Boston Railway’s last trip arrived in White Plains at 12:40 a.m. on January 1, 1938. One hundred fifty members of the Allied Civic Associations and other community groups met with John H. Delaney and Charles V. Halley, Jr., on January 12. Th ey wanted the Board of Transportation to obtain the W&B’s Bronx tracks and resume operations. Delaney said he didn’t think it would be profitable....
Building the Line Th at Almost Never Was
It’s impossible not to write about New York’s unbuilt subway lines without discussing the 2nd Avenue subway. The question of when it would be built has been asked for more than eighty years. It’s being partially answered with the construction of a segment east and north from the Lexington Avenue station on the 63rd Street line to 96th Street and 2nd Avenue, one step in a pro cess that has lasted the entire twentieth century and into...
Other Plans, Other Lines,10 Other Issues in the Postwar Years
General Charles P. Gross began his tenure as Board of Transportation chairman on January 7, 1946, by announcing his plans to modernize the system. Lengthening platforms, buying new trains, installing escalators, improving lighting, and paying down debt took priority. Without financial resources, greater emphasis was being placed on upgrading the existing system. No commitment was given to raising the fare....
What Happened to the Rest of the System?
One of my colleagues once pondered the question of what happened to all the ambitious plans to expand the subway system. She explained it this way: “Bad transit karma.”
Terrible events always seemed to coincide with announcements of expansion plans— the Great Depression and other economic crises, both world wars, and terrorist attacks. Funds or resources that could have been used for capital programs were used to fill ...
Appendix A: Th e 1944 Ser vice P
Appendix B: Th e 1947 2nd Avenue Ser vice Plan
Appendix C: The Cast of Characters
Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 100 b/w illustrations
Publication Year: 2013
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Routes Not Taken