Explore the wealthy transit historical past of the Bronx at a brand new Grand Central exhibit

When the IRT first started constructing subways to the Bronx on the flip of the century, the borough was comparatively empty, with solely round 200,000 individuals unfold throughout plenty of farmland. The subway’s arrival jump-started the world’s urbanization, resulting in a bustling group located on the Grand Concourse.

“When subways are built into neighborhoods that are sparsely populated to begin with, people start moving there, because rapid transit makes it easier for you to live and work in two separate places,” Shapiro mentioned.

The Grand Concourse was conceived as NYC’s Champs-Élysées: “There were nice buildings built there to anticipate the influx of people, and as soon as the subway opened, they started flocking to these buildings. And it’s because people flocked there that the IND [Independent Subway System] concourse line was conceived and built, which encouraged even more growth, and cemented the neighborhood as the place to live for people who couldn’t afford to live in the same type of apartments in Manhattan.”

The gallery consists of hand-drawn maps of legacy steam rail strains and floor transit strains within the Bronx, which give insights into the planning and foresight that went into the routes we nonetheless use immediately.

“A lot of people when they look at maps, they just see the polished finished product,” Shapiro mentioned. “To have these hand-drawn ones, especially the Surface Transit Company map from 1948 — that is just when they are converting their trolley lines into motor bus lines. That is the map that our current motor bus system in the Bronx is based on.”

“Pretty much every trolley route in New York City has been converted to a bus line,” she added, “so no matter where you are in the city, if you’re on a bus, you are likely on the same route that a trolley traversed prior to 1948.”

Though the steam rail strains have been deactivated for practically a century, some have been included into Metro North. Much more are being thought-about to be used within the Penn Entry Undertaking, which might join the Bronx with Penn Station. “And that’s all based on steam rail services that existed in the 1800’s,” Shapiro mentioned.

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