The New York City Subway is an exemplar of public transportation in the United States, and even in the world. It is one of the world’s oldest public transit systems, one of the world’s longest subway systems, the largest rapid transit system in the world by number of stations, and furthermore, one of the world’s most-used metro systems. Thousands of tourists and locals ride the trains every day of the year, at every hour of the day. Now an iconic staple of New York City, many New Yorkers cannot even imagine their lives without the subway system. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
|November 1, 1903||During subway construction, people and animals tumble into the open ditch, dogs are made crazy by the explosions, and people complain of “subway’s knee.”|
|September 4, 1904||As construction approaches completion, New Yorkers take greater interest in the subway.|
|October 9, 1904||The New York subway, prior to opening, is lauded as the “greatest thing of its kind” and is expected to solve the city’s transportation problem.|
|October 27, 1904||The New York subway officially opens.|
|November 13, 1904||Health concerns are raised about poor subway ventilation and sanitation, as well as exposure to bacilli. Electricity and fans are proposed as solutions.|
|October 5, 1910||Gimbel Brothers opens a department store in the subway, dubbed the “Subway Store.”|
|May 25, 1911||The Interborough Company plans on extending the City Subway and offers reduced fares to Manhattan.|
|December 28, 1913||The subway stimulates New York City economy as demand for property along the subway line skyrockets.|
|September 29, 1914||A serious accident occurs when two trains collide, causing a fire and three deaths.|
|September 25, 1915||Premature explosion of dynamite causes a cave-in leading to hundreds of injuries and seven deaths.|
|January 1915||Burning of two electric cables result in partial asphyxiation of hundreds of passengers and one death.|
|August 2, 1918||The opening of a new section in the Manhattan subway causes thousands of passengers to become lost at Times Square as their routes are changed.|
|August 28, 1922||Mayor Haylor plans on providing 126 miles of new lines as well as six new tunnels, an extremely costly plan.|