nyc subway

History, Transportation

What it was like the day the NYC subway opened in 1904

By Emily Nonko, Wed, October 27, 2021

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “City Hall Subway Station, New York” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1906.

The Interborough Rapid Transit Subway, or IRT, was the first subway company ever in New York City. The company formed as a response to elevated train lines springing up around the city–it was time to go underground and build a rapid transit railroad to help combat street congestion and assist development in new areas of New York, according to NYCsubway.org. And so 117 years ago, on October 27, 1904, the first IRT subway line opened with the City Hall station as its showpiece. It’s no overstatement to say that after this date, the city would never be the same. And the day was one to remember, with pure excitement over the impressive feat of moving the city’s transit system underground.

Here’s what you need to know

City Living, Transportation

Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the New York City subway saw over 3.2 million riders in one day. Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Friday announced 3,236,904 customers rode the subway on October 14, passing the previous record made a week prior by 50,000 customers. The record set last week still remains far below pre-pandemic levels; average weekday ridership regularly exceeded 5.5 million trips before Covid.

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Art, East Village, Transportation, Williamsburg

© Marcel Dzama, NYC Transit Bedford Avenue Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo: MTA Arts & Design/ Kris Graves.

This week, the MTA unveiled two new mosaic series at the 1st Avenue and Bedford Avenue L train stations. In the East Village, artist Katherine Bradford created Queens of the Night, a fanciful tribute to the creatives and essential workers (depicted as superheroes) who ride the L train. And in Williamsburg, artist Marcel Dzama created No Less Than Everything Comes Together, a collection of theatric fairytale-like figures under the sun and moon.

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Featured Story

Art, Features, Midtown, Transportation

Nick Cave, subway mosaic, 42nd Street Shuttle passage, NYC subway art

All photos © Dana Schulz for 6sqft

Artist Nick Cave is best known for his Soundsuits, wearable sculptures made of natural materials like dyed human hair and feathers that make noise when worn. For his latest endeavor, creating a public art piece for the passageway that connects the B, D, F, and M trains to the 42nd Street shuttle, Cave translated his Soundsuits into colorful, energetic mosaics of dancers in Soundsuits made of raffia and fur. According to the New York Times, the $1.8M project was commissioned by MTA Arts & Design as part of the larger $250 million undertaking to revamp the shuttle. In addition to more than 24 intricate mosaics, Cave’s piece, titled “Every One,” includes a series of 11 digital screens that play videos of people in actual Soundsuits dancing.

See the mosaics here

Policy

Photo courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office on Flickr

Less than two weeks ago, New York City experienced the most rainfall ever recorded in a single hour with 1.94 inches documented in Central Park on August 21. That record was smashed on Wednesday night when the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the region, bringing 3.15 inches of rain to the park between around 8:50 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. The historic rainfall caused a flash flood emergency to be issued in the city for the first time ever, brought the subway system to a standstill, and ultimately left at least 12 New Yorkers dead.

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Featured Story

Features, History, Transportation

Image via Rawpixel/ Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 150 years ago, something quite momentous happened in New York history: the first subway line was opened to the public. The system was the invention of Alfred Ely Beach and his company Beach Pneumatic Transit Company. Beach put up $350,000 of his own money to build the first prototype and tunnel and his company managed to put it together, somewhat covertly, in just 58 days. The tunnel measured about 312 feet long, eight feet in diameter, and was completed in 1870.

more on the history of NYC’s 1st subway line here

Transportation

All photos: Marc A. Hermann / MTA on Flickr

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday unveiled the first batch of subway cars of a brand new fleet that will serve passengers starting next summer. With wider doors and better signage, the long-awaited R211 cars are designed to increase capacity and provide commuters a more modern experience. The test cars that arrived this week fall under a $1.4 billion order from Kawasaki Rail Car Inc., which includes 535 subway and Staten Island Railway R211 cars. A few of the cars will hit the rails in the coming weeks, but won’t serve passengers until next September.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit on Flickr

Roughly a billion fewer passengers entered the New York City subway system in 2020 than in 2019, according to new data released this week by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The annual total ridership on the subway in 2019 was 1,697,787,002 passengers and 639,541,029 passengers in 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic hit last spring and Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close, both city subway and bus ridership hit record lows. In April 2020, subway ridership hit just 8 percent of what it was in 2019.

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City Living, Events, Transportation

Photo: Patrick Carey/ MTA on Flickr

It’s music to our ears. Live music will return to subway platforms across the city next month as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “Music Under New York” program. The program, which typically includes thousands of live shows performed each year, will resume June 4, about 14 months after public performances were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Policy, Transportation

24/7 subway service resumes in New York City

By Devin Gannon, Mon, May 17, 2021

NYC Transit employees remove overnight closure signs. Courtesy of MTA on Flickr

New York City’s subway system resumed 24-hour service on Monday for the first time in over a year. Last May, Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed the subway overnight as part of a disinfection plan created in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time the trains closed overnight since the subway first opened 116 years ago. The return of 24/7 service this week comes just two days before most capacity restrictions in New York are lifted and as rates of COVID have fallen across the state.

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