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The first underground subway line in New York City opened in 1904. Constructed by the Interborough Rapid Transit company (IRT) to cover the length of the Manhattan, it started at Brooklyn Bridge on the east side, ran up to Grand Central, crossed 42nd Street, and then continued north to 145th. This silent, black-and-white video released by the Library of Congress captures a snippet of that ride in 1905, trailing a train from 14th Street to Grand Central just a year after the subway opened. The stations look wonderfully clean, the riders are impeccably dressed, and the play of light in the tunnels creates a mesmerizing, abstracting effect. And yes, one thing hasn’t changed, even after 108 years: people are still running to catch the train.

h/t Daily News

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...

One reply on “See the NYC Subway in 1905”

  1. Just beautiful and powerful footage. The structure and atmosphere hasn’t changed drastically.

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