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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Subway: NOT the sandwich!

This Day in History: October 27, 1904

For people living in New York City, it is hard to visualize life without the subway, especially with over 8 million residents as of 2013. Mayor George McClellan takes the controls on the inaugural run of the city's innovative new rapid transit system on this day in history. London boasts the world's oldest underground train network opening in 1863 and Boston built the first subway in the United States in 1897. However, the New York City subway soon became the largest American system.

The City Hall station of the IRT Lexington Avenue Line opened on October 27, 1904.
 October 27th, 2014 marks the 110th anniversary of the subway system. The first train ran north from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway. The system that now benefits 5.8 million daily customers sprang from a single line that didn’t leave the confines of Manhattan.
The system has grown into a four-borough operation that each day moves more than double the population of Chicago. Trains running along 24 lines feed the City’s schools, businesses and recreational venues. New York could not be the 24/7 City it is today without the MTA New York City subway and the system will continue to nurture the City’s growth far into the future. Source: Photos

The subway system is not without its share of problems. The subway became the home for graffiti, which was a serious problem in the 70s and 80s. Even today litter accumulation is an issue and the 2010 budget crisis has threatened to curtail trash removal from the subway system. Then, there is the noise level and unfortunately, the rats.

Graffiti became a notable symbol of declining service during the 1970s.

Not sure one would ever see an empty subway car in NYC with some 4.5 million passengers filling the train cars every day. Should there ever be one its interior would look something like...

Interior of an R142A train car
Did you know there was once a Miss Subways contest?

An advertisement for Miss Subways
at the New York City Transit Museum.
From 1941 to 1976, the Board of Transportation/New York City Transit Authority sponsored the "Miss Subways" publicity campaign. In the musical On the Town, the character Miss Turnstiles is based on the Miss Subways campaign. In one scene, the musical shows three sailors taking an uptown train at Times Square.

The campaign was resurrected in 2004, for one year, as "Ms. Subways". It was part of the 100th anniversary celebrations. Featuring young models, entertainers and others, the monthly campaign, which included the winners' photos and biographical blurbs on placards in subway cards, featured such winners as Mona Freeman and prominent New York City restaurateur Ellen Goodman. The winner of this contest was Caroline Sanchez-Bernat, an actress from Morningside Heights. Source: en.wikipedia.com
Bottom Line: No matter how crowded or dirty, the subway is one New York City institution few New Yorkers—or tourists—could do without.

Expect the unexpected on the subway!