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A Century of Subways

Celebrating 100 Years of New York's Underground Railways

Brian Cudahy

Publication Year: 2003

"I declare the subway open," said Mayor George B. McClelland at about 2 p.m. on October 27, 1904. His hand on the switch, McClelland drove the new electric-powered cars of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company out of the City Hall station for the ride under Broadway to 145th Street in Harlem. After a decade of digging, New York was moving uptown. And everything began to change. Brian Cudahy offers a fascinating tribute to the world the subway created. Taking a fresh look at one of the marvels of the 20th century, Cudahy creates a vivid sense of this extraordinary achievement--how the city was transformed once New Yorkers started riding in a hole in the ground. The story begins before 1904. For years, everyone knew only a new public transportation system could break the gridlock strangling the most crowded city in America. Cudahy's hero is August Belmont, Jr., the banker who risked a fortune to finance the building of the IRT. Next, Cudahy moves to Boston and London, whose subways were older than New York's, to compare the experiences of these great cities. And he explores the impact of the new IRT on New York's commuter railroads and later on rail transportation from Buffalo to Los Angeles. New York simply would not be possible without its subways. With this spirited salute to the powerbrokers and politicians who planned it and the engineers and laborers who built it, Brian Cudahy helps us remember the real legacy of the subway--and the city it made.; “An impressively informative work A Century of Subways tells of the amazing and critically important history of subway systems as a remarkable technological achievement in mass transportation which is legendary for its practicality.#8221;

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-xii

A Century of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years of New York’s Underground Railways has been written to help celebrate the centenary of the New York Subway. A hundred years ago, on the afternoon of Thursday, October 27, 1904, New Yorkers walked into various entrance kiosks of the city’s new...

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Chapter 1: August Belmont and His Subway

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pp. 1-72

The subway that opened in the City of New York on the afternoon of Thursday, October 27, 1904, was of modest proportions when compared to the massive rail rapid-transit system that would be carrying New Yorkers on their appointed rounds a hundred years later, on Wednesday...

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Chapter 2: Change at Park Street Under

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pp. 73-122

The subway opened by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in New York on the afternoon of September 27, 1904, would become the nucleus of the largest urban mass-transit system in America—and by some measures, the largest in the world. But whatever else one may choose to say about the Interborough in particular and New York...

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Chapter 3: The World’s First Subway

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pp. 123-181

As described in Chapter 2, Boston opened the first subway in North America on September 1, 1897, seven years before the Interborough Rapid Transit Company welcomed passengers aboard New York’s first underground railway in 1904. But Boston’s Tremont Street operation...

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Chapter 4: New York’s Electrified Railroads

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pp. 182-275

In many cities throughout the world, local mass transport involves multiple styles of railway services. There are, of course, urban-oriented electric railways, commonly operating in belowground tunnels and known as subways—or metro systems, or the underground...

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Chapter 5: The Legacy of the IRT

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pp. 276-320

For the first quarter-century or so that the New York Subway was in operation, the general popularity of urban mass transit remained on the upswing, and more passengers rode America’s subways, els, and streetcars year after...


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pp. 321-366


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pp. 367-372


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pp. 373-388

E-ISBN-13: 9780823246847
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823222926
Print-ISBN-10: 0823222926

Page Count: 388
Publication Year: 2003