New York City Transit Scenes:
Past and Present

The IRT - First Stations: A Photographic History of the Stations
of New York's First Subway Line

NEW YORK'S FIRST SUBWAY LINE was a marvel in numerous aspects, and most certainly from an engineering and architectural point of view. During all stages of construction, from 1900 to opening day on October 27, 1904, photographs were taken to record the progress of the new subway. These photographs highlighted everything from an "86th St." sign being tested at the 28th St. station, to the installation of City Hall Station's vault lighting, to the 116th St. station with an exposed street surface. More than 35 such photos, at least one for each of the twenty-eight original IRT stations, are presented in this exhibit from the collections of the New York Transit Museum Archives. In addition, for several stations, including City Hall, there are photographs that I have taken within the last five years. Select stations from the following list or from the accompanying map, highlighting the route of New York's first subway line. Take note of your surroundings next time you are in the subway; many stations have changed little, many have witnessed dramatic changes, four are not even open anymore. Enjoy your trip back in time!

Choose a station to begin your journey:

[City Hall] [Brooklyn Bridge] [Worth St.] [Canal St.] [Spring St.]
[Bleecker St.] [Astor Place] [14 St.] [18 St.] [23 St.] [28 St.] [33 St.]
[Grand Central] [Times Square]
[50 St.] [59 St.] [66 St.] [72 St.] [79 St.] [86 St.] [91 St.] [96 St.]
[103 St.] [110 St.] [116 St.] [125 St.] [137 St.] [145 St.]

Complete Map of Original Route

Thanks to Kathleen Collins, former archivist of the Transit Museum Archives, and to Dan Harding of the Technology Division at NYC Transit, for their help in assembling this exhibit, and to Brian Foote for the use of the Cooper Union computer facilities. In addition, some of the facts pertaining to the stations are taken from the several volumes of Silver Connections by Philip Ashforth Coppola.

New York City Transit