"I declare the subway open," said Mayor George B. McClellan at about 2 p.m. on October 27, 1904. His hand on the switch, McClellan drove the new electric-powered cars of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company out of the City Hall station for the twenty-six minute ride under Broadway to 145th Street in Harlem. After a decade of digging and building, New York was moving uptown, underground. And everything began to change. A century later, Brian Cudahy offers this fascinating tribute to the city -- and the world -- that the subway created. Taking a fresh look at one of the marvels of the twentieth century, Cudahy tells not one big story, but five carefully linked tales to create 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 well before 1904. For years, everyone knew that only a new public transportation system could break the constant gridlock that threatened to shut down the most crowded city in America. Cudahy's hero is August Belmont, Jr., the powerful banker who risked what no one else would: he not only financed the building of the subway but also hired the engineer William Barclay Parsons to design it, and later became the first president of the IRT.
Next, Cudahy moves to Boston, whose downtown subway was five years older than New York's, and grew in its own distinctive way to become an extraordinary citywide transit system. Cudahy also travels to London, where the world's first subway began rolling in 1863. He offers a revealing contrast of the Underground, and subways in other European cities, with New York's subway. And Cudahy brings everything up to date as he explores the impact of the new IRT on New York's own developing network of commuter railroads, especially the New York Central and Pennsylvania lines, and later on the fabric of rail transportation in Buffalo, Baltimore, San Francisco, San Juan, Montreal, and 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.
|Publisher:||Fordham University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)|
Table of Contents
|Stonehenge via Subway||xi|
|1.||August Belmont and His Subway||1|
|2.||Change at Park Street Under||72|
|3.||The World's First Subway||123|
|4.||New York's Electrified Railroads||182|
|5.||The Legacy of the IRT||276|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am 100 pages into the book and enjoying the read but none of the photographs appear. Just a. Big white block. I am disappointed to not get the full book with images.