Edited by Gerald Boerner
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Quotations Related to SUBWAY
“I got lost a lot, and I was a really bad waitress… I got lost on the subway.”
— Piper Perabo
“I like the tube more than the NY subway though, you’ve got cushioned seats.”
— Neil Patrick Harris
“I would roll up pennies to take the subway to work in Times Square. I was broke, but I was happy.”
— Jennifer Garner
“From blood banking to the modern subway, from jazz to social justice, the contributions of African Americans have shaped and molded and influenced our national culture and our national character.”
— Bill Frist
“There’s been a big spur in downtown development with new business, restaurants and a lot of loft buying. The buses run, and there’s a subway that runs through downtown.”
— Michael Ritchie
“Spelling is very easy to practice yourself whereas signing is not. So I would sit on the subway riding around New York and I would spell whatever I would see. When I watched a movie I would spell words as they came up.”
— Richard Masur
“On the other hand, all kinds of adventurous schemes to add security checkpoints to subway and bus systems have been circulating since the London attacks. This is nonsense. No one can guaranty 100 percent security.”
— Otto Schily
“I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you’re going. That’s family values.”
— Al Sharpton
The New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit. It is one of the oldest and most extensive public transportation systems in the world, with 468 stations in operation (423 if stations connected by transfers are counted as a single station); 229 miles (369 km) of routes, translating into 656 miles (1,056 km) of revenue track; and a total of 842 miles (1,355 km) including non-revenue trackage. In 2009, the subway delivered over 1.579 billion rides, averaging over five million (5,086,833 rides) on weekdays, 2.9 million on Saturdays, and 2.2 million on Sundays.
The New York City Subway trails only Tokyo’s, Moscow’s and Seoul’s subways in annual ridership and carries more passengers than all other rail mass transit systems in the US combined. It is one of the four systems, with PATH, parts of the Chicago ‘L’, and PATCO to offer service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Subway Colors and Names,
Metropolitan Transportation Authority,
A demonstration for an underground transit system in New York City was first built by Alfred Ely Beach in 1869. His Beach Pneumatic Transit only extended 312 feet (95 m) under Broadway in Lower Manhattan and exhibited his idea for a subway propelled by pneumatic tube technology. The tunnel was never extended for political and financial reasons, although extensions had been planned to take the tunnel southward to The Battery and northwards towards the Harlem River. The Beach subway was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built in the 1910s; thus, it was not integrated into the New York City Subway system.
The first underground line of the subway opened on October 27, 1904, almost 35 years after the opening of the first elevated line in New York City, which became the IRT Ninth Avenue Line. The heavy 1888 snowstorm helped to demonstrate the benefits of an underground transportation system. The oldest structure still in use opened in 1885 as part of the BMT Lexington Avenue Line, and is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn. The oldest right-of-way, that of the BMT West End Line, was in use in 1863 as a steam railroad called the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail Road. The Staten Island Railway, which opened in 1860, currently uses R44 subway cars, but it has no links to the rest of the system and is not usually considered part of the subway proper.
By the time the first subway opened, the lines had been consolidated into two privately owned systems, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, later Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The city was closely involved: all lines built for the IRT and most other lines built or improved for the BRT after 1913 were built by the city and leased to the companies. The first line of the city-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened in 1932; this system was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some of the elevated railways to be torn down, but was kept within the core of the City due to the low amount of startup capital provided to the municipal Board Of Transportation, the later MTA, by the state. This required it to be run ‘at cost’, necessitating fares up to double the five cent fare popular at the time.
In 1940, the two private systems were bought by the city; some elevated lines closed immediately, and others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and now operate as one division called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segments are too small and stations too narrow to accommodate B Division cars, and contain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division.
The New York City Transit Authority, a public authority presided by New York City, was created in 1953 to take over subway, bus, and streetcar operations from the city, and was placed under control of the state-level Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1968.
In 1934, transit workers of the BRT, IRT, and IND founded the Transport Workers Union of America, organized as Local 100. Local 100 remains the largest and most influential local of the labor union. Since the union’s founding, there have been three union strikes. In 1966, transit workers went on strike for 12 days, and again in 1980 for 11 days. On December 20, 2005, transit workers again went on strike over disputes with MTA regarding salary, pensions, retirement age, and health insurance costs. That strike lasted just under three days.
When the IRT subway debuted in 1904, typical tunnel construction was the cut-and cover method. The street was torn up to dig the tunnel below, then the street was rebuilt above. This method worked well for digging soft dirt and gravel near the street surface. However, mining shields were required for deeper sections, such as the Harlem and East River tunnels, which uses cast-iron tubes, and the segments between 33rd and 42nd streets under Park Avenue, between 116th Street and 120th Street under Broadway, and between 157th Street and Fort George under Broadway and St. Nicholas Avenue, all of which used either rock or concrete-lined tunnels.
About 40% of the "subway" actually runs on surface or elevated tracks including steel or cast iron elevated structures, concrete viaducts, embankments, open cuts and surface routes. All of these construction methods are completely grade-separated from road and pedestrian crossings, and most crossings of two subway tracks are grade-separated with flying junctions.
Lines and routes
Many rapid transit systems run relatively static routings, so that a train "line" is more or less synonymous with a train "route". In New York, routings change often as new connections are opened or service patterns change. The "line" describes the physical railroad track or series of tracks that a train "route" uses on its way from one terminal to another.
On older subway cars, such as the R32′s, roll signs indicate its northern terminus first on top, and the trains southern terminus is displayed on the lower part of the roll sign.
"Routes" (also called "services") are distinguished by a letter or a number. "Lines" have names. (Notwithstanding the subtleties, in popular usage, lettered or numbered services are often referred to as "lines". They are also designations for trains, as exemplified in the Billy Strayhorn song Take the "A" Train.) This terminology is also used to a loose extent in the Taipei Metro.
There are 24 train services in the subway system, including three short shuttles. Each route has a color designation, representing the Manhattan trunk line of the particular service, and it is labeled as local or express. A separate color is exclusively assigned to the Crosstown Line route, since it operates entirely outside Manhattan; the shuttles are all assigned dark gray. Each service is also named after its Manhattan (or crosstown) trunk line. For these reasons, the New York Subway is perhaps the most complex metro system in the world.
Though all but two subway stations are served on a 24-hour basis, some of the designated routes do not run during the late night hours or use a different routing during those hours. In addition to these regularly scheduled changes, because there is no nightly system shutdown for maintenance, tracks and stations must be maintained while the system is operating. To accommodate such work, services are usually changed during the overnight hours and on weekends.
The current color system depicted on official subway maps was proposed by R. Raleigh D’Adamo, a lawyer who entered a contest sponsored by the Transit Authority in 1964. D’Adamo proposed replacing a map that used only three colors (representing the three operating entities of the subway network) with a map that used a different color for each service. D’Adamo’s contest entry shared first place with two others and led the Transit Authority to adopt a multi-colored scheme. (D’Adamo subsequently earned a master’s degree in transportation planning and engineering from Polytechnic University and worked for transit authorities, including a stint at the MTA, and was responsible for organizing and building what today is the Westchester County Bee-Line bus system.) However, the lines and services are not referred to by color (e.g., Blue line or Green line), although the colors are often assigned through their groups.
Evolution Of Today’s Subway: Unification and Contraction
In June 1940, the transportation assets of the former BMT and IRT systems were taken over by the City of New York for operation by the City’s Board of Transportation, which already operated the IND system. In 1953 the New York City Transit Authority, a state agency incorporated for the benefit of the city, now known to the public as MTA New York City Transit, succeeded the BoT.
A combination of factors had this takeover coincide with the end of the major rapid transit building eras in New York City. The City immediately began to eliminate what it considered redundancy in the system, closing several elevated lines including the IRT Ninth Avenue Line and most of the IRT Second Avenue El in Manhattan, and the BMT Fifth and Third Avenue Lines and most of the BMT Fulton Street Line in Brooklyn.
Despite the unification, a distinction between the three systems survives in the service labels: IRT lines (now referred to as A Division) have numbers and BMT/IND (now collectively B Division) lines use letters. There is also a more physical but less obvious difference: Division A cars are narrower than those of Division B by 18 inches (~45cm) and shorter by 9 to 24 feet (~2.7 to 7.3m).
The original IRT subway lines were built to modified elevated line dimensions. Whereas the IRT els were originally equipped with cars that were 47 feet long, the cars designed for the IRT subway measure 51 feet 4 inches long. Both sets of lines permitted cars not wider than 9 feet. The clearances and curves on these lines are too narrow and too sharp for any IND or BMT equipment. The later extensions of the IRT, constituting the bulk of the system, were built to BMT dimensions, and so are of a profile that could support the use of IND/BMT sized equipment. In other words, Division B equipment could operate on much of Division A if station platforms were trimmed and trackside furniture moved, thus letting Division A lines carry more passengers. However, there is virtually no chance of this happening because the older, narrower portions of Division A are centrally situated, such that it would be impossible to put together coherent through services. The most that can be reasonably hoped for is that some branch lines of Division A might be resized and attached to Division B lines. This was done with the BMT Astoria Line in Queens (which had formerly been dual-operated with normal IRT trains and special narrow BMT shuttles), and has been proposed for a connection of the Second Avenue Subway to the IRT Pelham Line in the East Bronx.
Because the Division A lines are of lower capacity for a given capital investment, all new extensions and lines built since World War II have been for Division B. Division A cars can travel on Division B lines when necessary, but are not used for passenger service on those lines due to the dangerously wide gap between the car and the station platform.
Even during World War II, which gave a reprieve to the closure of most rail transit in the US, some closures continued, including the remainder of the IRT Second Avenue Line in Manhattan (1942) and the surviving BMT elevated services over the Brooklyn Bridge (1944).
The originally planned IND system was built to the completion of its original plans after World War II ended, but the system then entered an era of deferred maintenance in which infrastructure was allowed to deteriorate, and closures of elevated lines continued. These closures included the entire IRT Third Avenue Line in Manhattan (1955) and the Bronx (1973), as well as the BMT Lexington Avenue Line (1950), much of the remainder of the BMT Fulton Street Line (1956), the downtown Brooklyn part of the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line (1969) and the BMT Culver Shuttle (1975), all in Brooklyn.
Only two new lines were opened in this era, the IRT Dyre Avenue Line (1941) and the IND Rockaway Line (1956). Both of these lines were rehabilitations of existing railroad rights-of-way rather than new construction. The former line was the City portion of the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway (an electrified commuter line closed in 1937) and the latter a line obtained from the Long Island Rail Road. While the Rockaway Line is a long and substantial line, it consists mostly of a long right-of-way crossing Jamaica Bay with a single station on Broad Channel island and two branches on a peninsula that is only several city blocks wide.
In 1951 a half-billion dollar bond issue was passed to build the Second Avenue Subway, but money from this issue was used for other priorities and the building of short connector lines, namely a ramp extending the IND Culver Line over the ex-BMT Culver Line at Ditmas and McDonald Avenues in Brooklyn (1954), allowing IND subway service to operate to Coney Island for the first time, the 60th Street Tunnel Connection (1955), linking the BMT Broadway Line to the IND Queens Boulevard Line, and the Chrystie Street Connection (1967), linking the BMT line via the Manhattan Bridge to the IND Sixth Avenue Line.
In the mid-1960s, $600,000,000 was made available to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York City for the purposes of Subway expansion. $1,230,000,000 was spent to create three tunnels and a half-dozen holes as part of construction on the Second Avenue and 63rd Street Lines. Construction would cease in 1975 on account of the city’s severe fiscal crisis; none of the sections were usable by the time federal payments were suspended in 1985.
Because the early subway systems competed with each other, they tended to cover the same areas of the city, leading to much overlapping service. The amount of service has actually decreased since the 1940s as many elevated railways were torn down, and finding funding for underground replacements has proven difficult.
Due to deferred maintenance, the condition of the subway system reached dangerous conditions as of the early 1980s. Talk of new construction was considered absurd at that point. However, during the mid-1980s, reconstruction began. Stations were refurbished and rolling stock was repaired and replaced. Around 2002, talk began to circulate about taking up the construction of the Second Avenue subway. Most New Yorkers regarded these plans with cynicism, since citizens were promised the line since well before the Third Avenue elevated was torn down in 1955. Funds have been set aside and environmental impact reports have been completed. A ceremonial Ground-breaking for the Second Avenue Subway was held on April 12, 2007 and contractor work to prepare the project’s initial construction site at 96th St & 2nd Ave began on April 23, 2007.
Please take time to further explore the NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY
and ITS HISTORY by accessing the Wikipedia articles
Other Events on this Day:
Two months after leaving England, William Penn arrives at New Castle, Delaware.
The first of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay under the pen name “Publius” are published in the New-York Packet, Independent Journal and Daily Advertiser newspapers. Known collectively as the Federalist Papers, the essays urge New Yorkers to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth U.S. president, is born in New York City.
Illinois farmer Joseph Glidden applies for a patent on barbed wire, an innovation that helps fence the western plains, enabling large-scale farming.
With Mayor George B. McClellan at the controls, the inaugural train of New York City’s subway system, built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Co., departs from City Hall Station. By the end of the day, nearly 150,000 people have ridden on the subway.
U.S. Air Force pilot Maj. Rudolf Anderson becomes the only combat fatality of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when his U-2 reconnaissance plane is shot down by a Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile near Banes, Cuba. President John F. Kennedy posthumously awards Anderson the first Air Force Cross.
Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith breaks Walter Payton’s career rushing record of 16,726 yards to become the NFL’s all-time rushing leader (Smith finishes his career with 18,355 yards rushing).
Dates and events based on:
William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)
Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:
Wikipedia: New York City Subway…
Wikipedia: History of the New York City Subway…
Brainy Quote: SUBWAY Quotes…