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New York Underground Transcript



David McCullough, Series Host: Good evening and welcome to The American Experience. I'm David McCullough.

In the words of the old Broadway musical, "On the Town";
"New York, New York, it's a wonderful town,
the Bronx is up, the Battery is down...
The people ride in a hole in the ground..."

The New York subway back then in the 1940's was one of the marvels of
America and it still is. It's the most extensive rapid transit system in the world, with more than 700 miles of track. In an average year more than a billion passengers ride the New York subway. Without it the city couldn't function, and while it's easy to take it for granted, like other feats of engineering that make modern cities possible, it didn't just happen and it didn't come easy.

The grand opening was in the year 1904, when two other massive projects were also in the news, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the Panama Canal. Each of those undertakings posed horrendous problems of terrain and climate, and the fact that each was far away in another part of the world gave them a certain added romance. But what was accomplished right at home, beneath the very streets of New York, was hardly less amazing, given that every bit of it had to be carried out while all around daily life in the biggest, busiest city in the country churned along at full speed.

Problems of logistics alone were enough to break the spirits of even the most determined believers and, hardly a day went by when men on the job did not face the very real possibility of being killed. Some cities are just naturally story cities. Our film is a New York story if ever there was.


ACT I


E.L. DOCTOROW
Reading from The Waterworks
"You may think you are living in modern times, here and now, but that's the necessary illusion of every age. We didn't conduct ourselves as if we were preparatory to your time. There was nothing quaint or colorful about us, I assure you. New York after the war was more creative, more deadly, more of a genius society than it is now."

NARRATOR
NEW YORK CITY ...JUST AFTER THE CIVIL WAR...THE FASTEST GROWING CITY IN THE COUNTRY. BUT ALSO A CITY AT A STANDSTILL...FROZEN IN PLACE BY MONUMENTAL TRAFFIC JAMS......HOLDING UP TRAVEL AND BUSINESS...THREATENING THE CITY'S SURVIVAL.

IN 1868, BENEATH DOWNTOWN BROADWAY, A CREW OF MEN...WORKING IN SECRECY...BEGAN CARVING A TUNNEL IN THE UNDERGROUND DARKNESS...THIS WAS A BOLD EXPERIMENT, CONCEIVE BY ONE MAN -- CONVINCED THAT ONLY A SUBWAY COULD SAVE THE CITY.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
Historian
In the years immediately after the Civil War, New York City was easily the largest city in the western hemisphere. It had grown incredibly rapidly since 1800. The city was churning with energy and enthusiasm, and investors and people coming to the city, both from other places and from this country to make their fortune. But that meant that the streets were incredibly crowded.

E.L. DOCTOROW
Broadway as the main route for commerce was chaotic. A discordant ground music of hooves clopping on cobblestone, the cries of reinsmen, the gongs of the horsecars and the hum of their flanges on the tracks; the rattling wheels and drumming boards of innumerable carriages, stages wagons, and drays.

NARRATOR
IN 1867, MARK TWAIN WROTE:
You cannot accomplish anything in the way of business, without devoting a whole day to it. You cannot ride unless you are willing
to go in a packed omnibus that labors, and plunges, and struggles
along at the rate of three miles in four hours and a half.

CLIFTON HOOD
Historian
New York City was in a transportation crisis. You have so many people living on this narrow, thin sliver of an island so that meant that all these people were packed onto a very tough area to get around in.

NARRATOR
ALMOST ONE MILLION PEOPLE...SQUEEZED INTO AN AREA ABOUT TWO MILES SQUARE......TRAVELING ON OMNIBUSES...HORSE-DRAWN STAGES -- OR THE NEWER STREETCARS ON RAILS.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
Author and Historian
Either mode of conveyance was equally uncomfortable. Cars weren't heated in the winter. They were sweltering in the summertime. Packed at all times of day and night. And in turn packing the city's streets.

NARRATOR
THERE WERE CONSTANT COMPLAINTS.
"Modern martyrdom may be succinctly defined as
riding in a New York omnibus. A perfect bedlam on
wheels." "It would not be decent to carry live hogs
thus and hardly dead ones."

CALEB CARR
Novelist and Historian
They did not yet have anything that vaguely resembled streetlights. So intersections were one of the principle causes of traffic. Basically, you fought your way through intersections.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
The problem obviously was that there were so many people trying to get so many different places in such a small, little area, and you needed to think of ways to separate the public transportation system from the incredible congestion of the streets, in order to break that logjam that was threatening to choke the city to death.

Talk of the subway really goes back really to the 1850's in far-seeing individuals. The first effort was that of Alfred Ely Beach who tried to build an experimental subway, if one can imagine such a thing, virtually across the street from the city government which was opposed to the subway. It was an extrordinarey effort.

CLIFTON HOOD
Alfred E. Beach was a journalist and an inventor. As a young man he buys "The Scientific American" and so he becomes responsible for disseminating technical knowledge in the United States. So he's actually a really important person in the history of technology in 19th Century America. He's not content with just writing about technological innovation, he was also active in coming up with his own inventions.


CALEB CARR
In the late 19th Century problems, it was popularly believed that virtually any problem could be addressed through technology and that technology in itself was a good thing. If you could build a machine to do something, you should build the machine to do it. There was enormous faith in technology.

NARRATOR
FOR YEARS ALFRED BEACH HAD ARGUED THAT A HORSE-DRAWN SUBWAY---- UNDER BROADWAY---- WOULD PUT AN END TO CONGESTION AND THE FILTH OF THE STREETS...

KENNETH T. JACKSON
The average horse, healthy horse, was pulling wagons around the city or pulling public transportation was likely to leave as much as ten pounds of manure on the streets every day. So just to cross the street, especially for a lady who had a long dress, was just a tough experience.

NARRATOR
BY THE LATE 1860S, ALFRED ELY BEACH HAD A REVOLUTIONARY IDEA -- A GIANT FAN WOULD DRIVE A TRAIN THROUGH A TUNNEL. AS FAST AS TEN MILES AN HOUR....A PNEUMATIC SUBWAY PULLED BY A ROPE OF AIR.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
Essentially he was going to have this round tube with a car that would fit the tube and then have giant fans which would either blow it one direction or suck it back in the other direction. It would be, in some ways like a straw that you would, as you suck on the straw, you'd suck it into your mouth by creating a vacuum in the straw. And then you can also blow air the other way, so you can blow it either way.

NARRATOR
STEAM HAD POWERED THE WORLD'S FIRST SUBWAY WHICH HAD OPENED IN LONDON IN 1863. BUT PASSENGERS COMPLAINED OF "HEADACHES AND SULFUROUS TASTE ON THE PALATE."

THE "SUFFOCATING AIR" WAS EVEN BLAMED FOR ONE WOMAN'S DEATH...SHORTLY AFTER DECLARING "WHAT A DREADFUL SMELL THERE IS HERE," SHE COLLAPSED.

ALFRED BEACH ARGUED FOR THE USE OF AIR.

CLIFTON HOOD
For one thing, it was clean. One of the problems with steam was that these engines were smoky and that they spew cinders over the rolling stock and over the passengers and over the train crews. Air, by contrast, was ideal.

NARRATOR
BUT THERE WAS ONE GREAT POLITICAL OBSTACLE. IT WOULD TAKE ALL BEACH'S CREATIVE GENIUS TO CIRCUMVENT THE CITY'S POWERFUL BOSS TWEED AND TAMMANY HALL...

E.L. DOCTOROW
I remind you William Marcy Tweed ran the city as no one had before him. Tweed held directorships in banks. He owned pieces of gasworks and of omnibus and street railway companies. Everyone doing business with the city paid from fifteen to fifty percent of the cost of his service back to the ring.

KENNETH JACKSON
Tammany Hall wanted to have a nice cut of the profits and the rakeoffs from whatever transit sytem was developed. Alfred Ely Beach was doing this on his own, without benefit of Tammany Hall or the Democratic organization. And therefore his transportation system below ground was a potential threat to the millions of dollars that could have been made on a Tammany-controlled public transit system.

E.L. DOCTOROW
I know what you people of this generation think; you look back on Boss Tweed with affection, as a wonderful fraud, a legendary scoundrel of old New York. But what he accomplished was murderous in the very modern sense of the term, manifestly murderous. Those he couldn't bribe, he bullied. Bald and red bearded with a charming twinkle in his blue eyes, he bought the drinks and paid for the dinners, but in the odd moment when there was no hand to shake or toast to give, the eye went dead and you saw the soul of a savage.

NARRATOR
BUT ALFRED E. BEACH -- GENTLE AND FRAIL-LOOKING...THE SON OF A PATRICIAN NEW ENGLAND FAMILY -- WOULD PROVE A MATCH FOR TWEED.....

STAN FISCHLER
He was a very independent cuss, and he understood very early on that he would be battling the special interests, and once he realized that they were going to be vehemently opposed to him, that they would blockade him at every turn, he decided that he literally would go underground, literally and figuratively.

CLIFTON HOOD
What Beach did was to present an idea for an experimental compressed air subway that could carry letters and packages through the city. On this basis of building a pneumatic subway for packages, Beach got the legislature to approve his idea.

NARRATOR
BUT BEACH NEVER INTENDED TO BUILD A PNEUMATIC TUBE JUST TO CARRY PACKAGES. HE BEGAN WORK ON A REAL SUBWAY RIGHT UNDER TWEED'S NOSE...

CLIFTON HOOD
Tweed is ensconced in City Hall and Beach builds his subway for a block under Broadway, from Warren Street to Murray Street, right within spitting distance of City Hall.

STAN FISCHLER
He rented out the basement of a clothing store and every night after the clothing store finished business he would get his people down in the basement and they would dig all night.



CLIFTON HOOD
These poor workers are working under Broadway. They can hear the clatter of hooves over their head. It's very hot down in this tunnel, which is about eight feet wide. It's dark in there. There are lights that flicker, but it's a pretty horrific scene for them to be working under.

NARRATOR
BEACH USED A DEVICE OFFERING SOME SAFETY IN CASE THE TUNNEL COLLAPSED. CALLED A HYDRAULIC SHIELD, IT RESEMBLED AN OPEN-ENDED BARREL. THE SHARP FRONT END PUSHED THROUGH THE EARTH WITH THE WORKERS INSIDE THE SHIELD...SHIELDS HAD BEEN USED BEFORE, BUT BEACH'S -- WITH ITS CYLINDRICAL SHAPE WAS AN IMPROVED DESIGN.

THE TUNNEL WAS LINED WITH IRON PLATES; IT WAS TO BE PAINTED WHITE AND LIT WITH GAS...

STAN FISCHLER
The marvel, the absolute marvel is that they were able to construct this thing and it wasn't a half-baked thing, it was a magnificent piece of construction. He was an undercover agent, a transportation undercover agent, battling against the axis of Tweed and his other Tammany cronies who, you know, that were originally opposed to it. It was a melodrama, but he pulled it off.

NARRATOR
AFTER JUST 58 NIGHTS OF WORK, THE SUBWAY....A SINGLE CAR WITH ROOM TO CARRY 22 PEOPLE...WAS READY.

CLIFTON HOOD
Beach opens it with a gala celebration. His point is to throw open this wonder to the people in New York City so that they'll be all agog and the public support will pave his way to getting his bill passed in the legislature to build a full-fledged subway. And one of the things that Beach does is to make sure that this subway's amenities make a favorable comparison with horse railways and with the omnibuses. The seats of the subway are upholstered. There are chandeliers. Beach's pneumatic subway is a real spectacle.

STAN FISCHLER
The station had a fountain. They had a grand piano. The appointments were class A, deluxe.

NARRATOR
"FASHIONABLE RECEPTION HELD IN THE BOWELS OF THE EARTH" SAID THE NEW YORK HERALD...THE TIMES PRAISED THE "GENERAL APPEARANCE OF TASTE AND COMFORT..."

THERE WAS A GRANDFATHER CLOCK; DAMASK CURTAINS...EVEN GOLDFISH SWIMMING IN THE FOUNTAIN...

"AN ALADDIN'S CAVE..."

"A MORE AGREEABLE MODE OF TRAVELING CAN SCARCELY BE
CONCEIVED..."

THE TRAIN...IT WAS REPORTED..."WAS PROPELLED LIKE A SAILBOAT BEFORE THE WIND." BEACH HAD SPENT $350,000 -- AT LEAST 70 THOUSAND OF IT HIS OWN MONEY.

CLIFTON HOOD
And it works. People flock to the subway and pay their quarters to ride it. But Tweed still blocks it.
NARRATOR
TWICE, BEACH'S SUBWAY BILL PASSED THE STATE LEGISLATURE ONLY TO BE VETOED BY THE TAMMANY-CONTROLLED GOVERNOR.

CLIFTON HOOD
The greater problem isn't just this political opposition, but the fact that the notion of a full-fledged pneumatic powered subway would have been unrealistic. It works in propelling a single car for a block under Broadway, but it's not flexible enough to power all of the cars in a complex system.

STAN FISCHLER
There were experiments that had to be done, there had to be failures to eventually lead to success. He showed we can put a tunnel underground that could work in the heart of the city, and then you want to make it better go ahead, but this is the guy who did it first.

NARRATOR
WITH MUCH OF HIS FORTUNE SPENT, BEACH WAS FORCED TO RENT OUT HIS EXPERIMENTAL SUBWAY AS A SHOOTING GALLERY...THEN AS A STORAGE VAULT. FINALLY, HIS TUNNEL WAS SEALED SHUT...
AND NEW YORK WAS STILL WAITING TO BE RESCUED.


ACT ll


NARRATOR
ON MARCH 12TH, 1888, THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED: "WHEN PEOPLE BEGAN TO STIR, TO GO ABOUT THEIR DAILY TASKS THEY FOUND THAT A BLIZZARD HAD LAID AN EMBARGO ON THE TRAVEL AND TRAFFIC OF THE GREATEST CITY ON THE CONTINENT."

MORE THAN A DECADE AFTER BEACH CLOSED HIS SUBWAY, NEW YORK SHUT DOWN...

KENNETH T. JACKSON
The need for a system underground was really made apparent, I think, most especially by the blizzard of 1888. Because the elevated trains and the horsecars, all of them depended on operating in nature. The city was brought to an absolute halt.

NARRATOR
POLICE SET UP FROSTBITE CHECKPOINTS TO RUB THE EARS OF STRUGGLING PEDESTRIANS...POWER LINES BROKE...VEHICLES WERE ABANDONED...

CLIFTON HOOD
By 1888, the city is so dependent on mass transit, that when the blizzard shuts all these lines down, it's paralyzed. People can't get to their jobs, grocers can't get milk and bread, coal can't be delivered. And this helps dramatize Mayor Abram S. Hewitt's argument that New York City needs a modern rapid transit system to make it go.

NARRATOR
THAT SAME YEAR--1888, MAYOR HEWITT -- A WEALTHY MERCHANT AND POLITICAL REFORMER -- PROPOSED CONSTRUCTING A GIGANTIC RAPID TRANSIT RAILROAD.

OVER THE LAST DECADES OF THE 19TH CENTURY, THE CITY HAD
CONTINUED TO EXPAND. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS WERE ARRIVING EVERY YEAR.....AMERICANS TOO WERE MOVING TO THE CITY. NEW YORK WAS NOW ONE OF THE MOST CROWDED PLACES ON EARTH. THE TENEMENTS OF THE LOWER EAST SIDE HELD AS MANY AS TEN, FIFTEEN PEOPLE IN ONE TINY APARTMENT.

CALEB CARR
Because of the press of these waves of immigrants, this endless wave of immigrants that came in at that time, you began to have a new sense of the city needing to change and needing to expand and needing to become something different than what it was.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
In the 1890's, New Yorkers and indeed Americans, were becoming aware of the horrendous conditions in which the very poor in New York City lived. And reformers, of course, looked at this and thought, well if we have a good public transportation system, then those people who are so crowded in and living miserable lives at densities that are too high, you know, where privacy and dignity would be difficult to come by, spread those people out.

NARRATOR
THERE WAS NO WAY TO MOVE PEOPLE FAST ENOUGH OR FAR ENOUGH TO EASE THE CROWDING AND ESCAPE THE GRIDLOCK...ONLY THE RICH HAD BEGUN TO MOVE UPTOWN, BUILDING MANSIONS ALONG FIFTH AVENUE...

TO THE NORTH, LAY ACRES OF OPEN SPACE. PARTS OF THE CITY STILL JUST FARMLAND... EMPTY, BUT UNREACHABLE.

EVEN FOR WEALTHY BUSINESSMEN, COMMUTING WAS ALL BUT IMPOSSIBLE.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
This is a house typical of the kind of elegant row house that the merchant elite would have wanted to live in. But this was becoming increasingly difficult because as the congestion was increasing the desire of the merchant elite was to move north. But if you moved north really along the spine of Manhattan, along Fifth Avenue, how do you get back to work?

NARRATOR
IN 1894, MAYOR HEWITT'S PLAN TO BUILD A SUBWAY WON AN IMPORTANT VICTORY. IT WAS APPROVED BY THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
While there are many New Yorkers who were looking forward to a subway, on the other hand there were people who thought that a subway was not possible---that building the subway would weaken the foundations of beloved buildings such as Trinity Church and other buildings along lower Broadway.

NARRATOR
THERE WERE COUNTLESS EXCUSES FOR NOT BUILDING A SUBWAY.... STORE-OWNERS ON BROADWAY PROTESTED IT WOULD DISRUPT THEIR BUSINESS....

PROPERTY HOLDERS ON ELM STREET COMPLAINED THAT "THE GROUND ALONG THE STREET WAS LIKE A BOWL OF JELLY, WHICH WOULD VIBRATE AND THROW DOWN BUILDINGS IF A RAPID TRANSIT RAILROAD WAS SET RUNNING THERE...

BUT BOSTON HAD ALREADY BUILT A SUBWAY AND SURVIVED.

CLIFTON HOOD
New York's mercantile elite wanted the subway because they wanted to guarantee that New York City maintained its competitive edge over rivals like Philadelphia and Boston. They saw it as a grand public plan that would make a difference in the city's future.

NARRATOR
IT WAS THE AMBITION OF BUSINESSMEN THAT TURNED THE DREAM OF BUILDING A SUBWAY INTO REALITY...

CLIFTON HOOD
The three key figures responsible for buildling New York's first subway are Abram S. Hewitt, who's the mayor who comes up with the idea in the 1880's; August Belmont, who's the president of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, and William Barclay Parsons who's the chief engineer who actually builds it....

NARRATOR
THE CONTRACT TO START THE SUBWAY WAS SIGNED IN 1900 BY AUGUST BELMONT JUNIOR. BELMONT WAS BORN TO POWER AND PRIVILEGE...HIS FATHER, AUGUST SENIOR, HAD BEEN A POOR GERMAN JEW -- AUGUST SCHOENBERG--WHO WORKED FOR THE ROTHCHILDS IN EUROPE. HE CHANGED HIS NAME AFTER HE CAME TO AMERICA, MADE HIS OWN FORTUNE -- AND BECAME EPISCOPALIAN.

AUGUST JUNIOR -- PREP SCHOOL AND HARVARD EDUCATED -- WAS KNOWN FOR HIS ARROGANCE AND SHORT TEMPER AS WELL AS HIS DARING AND AMBITION.

CLIFTON HOOD
In the 1890's no financier would touch it. The idea was that the subway was too costly, too risky, and that anybody who undertook it would lose his shirt. Belmont is the financier who takes the contract and who takes on this risk.

NARRATOR
A MAN WHO WORKED FOR BELMONT...A FORMER JOURNALIST NAMED JOHN HETTRICK...LATER RECALLED THE DECISION TO FINANCE THE SUBWAY...
"FROM THAT MOMENT," HETTRICK SAID, " THE LIFE
AND SOUL OF MR. BELMONT WAS IN THE ENTERPRISE."

HIS CHIEF ENGINEER WAS WILLIAM BARCLAY PARSONS.

CLIFTON HOOD
William Barclay Parsons is a member of one of New York's old Anglican-American families that goes back a couple of centuries. He went to Columbia, he became an engineer, and he was involved in big engineering projects around the world. He built a railroad in China. He starts working on one of the subway projects in New York City that doesn't get underway early in his career. And this develops a lifelong fascination with the subway. And so he follows the progress of the various plans, and when the subway actually becomes a reality in the 1890's, he's there, and he gets the job as chief engineer.

NARRATOR
IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, AN ENGINEER WAS REGARDED AS A GODLIKE FIGURE---FITTING THE ORIGINAL MEANING OF THE WORD "MAN OF GENIUS."

"OF ALL HUMAN ACTIVITIES," PARSONS WROTE, "ENGINEERING IS THE ONE THAT ENTERS MOST INTO
OUR LIVES."

THE SUBWAY, HE DECIDED, WOULD BE HIS LIFE'S WORK.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
He saw it not only as a great engineering project and feat, but also as a real economic necessity to New York. He understood the importance of rapid transit and its effect on the social comfort as he put it of New Yorkers and the economic growth of New York City.

NARRATOR
PARSONS WORKED OUT A 21 MILE ROUTE STARTING AT CITY HALL. IT WENT UP THE EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN TO GRAND CENTRAL STATION. THEN IT CONTINUED ACROSS 42ND STREET AND PROCEEDED NORTH, DIVIDING INTO TWO BRANCHES HEADING UNDER THE RIVER INTO THE BRONX.

TUNNELING UNDERWATER WOULD BE FRAUGHT WITH DIFFICULTY AND DANGER. BACK IN 1880, DURING AN ATTEMPT TO BUILD A TUNNEL UNDER THE HUDSON RIVER, A BLOWOUT HAD CAUSED COMPRESSED AIR TO ESCAPE. THE WATER RUSHED IN AND TWENTY MEN DIED.

BEFORE WORK COULD BEGIN, PARSONS SET OFF TO STUDY THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
He as Chief Engineer was immediately sent to Europe by the Rapid Transit Commission to take a look at subway systems abroad. By that time, not only did London have a subway system, but Paris was beginning to think of building one, was in the planning stages. Most were still steam-powered except there was a small stretch in London that was an experimental stretch, electrically powered, which Parsons regarded and studied with great interest. And then when he went on to Paris, he discovered that Paris too was going to build its new subway using electrical power.

NARRATOR
BY THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, AMERICA WAS ALSO GOING ELECTRIC. USING THE NEW FORM OF POWER IN EVERYTHING FROM STREETLIGHTS TO MOTORS...AND A FORMER ASSISTANT TO THOMAS EDISON -- FRANK SPRAGUE -- HAD DESIGNED THE FIRST COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL ELECTRIC TRAIN.

NOW PARSONS COULD SET OUT TO BUILD THE LONGEST, MOST SOPHISTICATED ELECTRIC SUBWAY IN THE WORLD.

ON MARCH 24TH 1900, GROUND WAS FINALLY BROKEN FOR THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY WITH A CEREMONY AT CITY HALL. MUSIC FROM SOUSA THE MARCH KING, CHURCH BELLS AND WHISTLES FROM SHIPS IN THE HARBOR MARKED THE MOMENT.

TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE FILLED THE PARK.

THE NEW YORK WORLD SET OFF A FIREWORKS DISPLAY, AND THERE WAS A 21 CANNON SALUTE.

PARSONS LOWERED HIS PICK INTO THE GROUND AND SIGNALED THE BEGINNING OF CONSTRUCTION ON THE INTERBOROUGH RAPID TRANSIT LINE -- THE I.R.T.

FROM THE START, PARSONS FACED A SERIES OF UNCERTAINTIES -- NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH WAS WHETHER THE PUBLIC COULD BE PERSUADED TO TRAVEL DEEP UNDERGROUND.

CLIFTON HOOD
Most engineers and planners weren't sure that the subway was going to be a success. So their concern was that if you put the subway under, deep underground, that's going to make it so inconvenient for people to use, that they might opt to walk, to use the elevated railways, or the horse railways. So what Parsons advocated was building a subway fairly close to the surface and that's what they ultimately chose to do.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
What Parsons had suggested was constructing the subway with something called the "cut and cover" method, where essentially shallow trenches were dug out and a steel frame was erected, tracks were laid down and then the hole covered up.

NARRATOR
NEW YORK'S TOPOGRAPHY WAS A SPECIAL CHALLENGE. THE DEPTH OF THE BEDROCK VARIED.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
The extraordinary thing about Parsons' design is when you look at the topographical profile of Manhattan, it is dips and valleys and mountains and hills, so his scheme had to take in not only the tremendous variations in topography, an enormous task in and of itself, but also deal with subterranean conditions. There were underground streams, there were large patches of quicksand, there were building foundations that his design had to skirt. There was, for example, the monument of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle and 59th Street, he had to design it so that the subway didn't knock it over or undermine its foundation. So, it was more than just planning a route from one end of Manhattan to the other, I mean, there were enormous considerations to take into account as he was designing the subway.

NARRATOR
IN SOME PLACES, TO KEEP A LEVEL GRADE...THE SUBWAY WOULD BE FORCED TO GO ABOVE GROUND...LIKE AN ELEVATED. IN OTHERS, TUNNELING THROUGH HILLS WAS UNAVOIDABLE..... BUT STILL DANGEROUS.

STAN FISCHLER
The challenge was later redoubled when you had to go under the water. You went under water going to the Bronx and of course then they began building the tunnels to Brooklyn on the IRT.

NARRATOR
PARSONS USED A VARIETY OF TECHNIQUES FOR THE UNDERWATER DIGGING...SOMETIMES HYDRAULIC SHIELDS -- LIKE ALFRED BEACH'S DEVICE. SOMETIMES OTHER METHODS WERE IMPROVISED -- LIKE DIGGING A TRENCH IN THE RIVERBED, THEN SINKING THE TUNNEL ROOF DOWN ON TOP OF IT.

STAN FISCHLER
In many ways I feel that the underwater subway tunnel construction was one of the most underrated engineering feats for the time.

NARRATOR
THE VERY SCALE OF THE SUBWAY CONSTRUCTION WAS UNPRECEDENTED. AT LEAST 7700 MEN WOULD BE NEEDED TO BUILD THE I-R-T.....MUCKERS TO MOVE THE DIRT...ROCKMEN..CARPENTERS.....
BRICKLAYERS.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
The sense we have of Parsons as a boss and a fellow engineer is that he was both respected and feared because he was a perfectionist and demanded the same of those who worked for him. He attended to every single detail. He was looking at the consistency of sand and gravel at 110th Street. Then he would run to 145th Street to look at the color paint that was going to be used in the subway station. I mean this is all he did for four years 24 hours a day.



NARRATOR
THE SUBWAY WOULD ALSO REQUIRE THE MOST POWERFUL ELECTRICAL PLANT IN THE WORLD. THE CENTRAL POWER HOUSE GENERATED ALTERNATING CURRENT WHICH COULD BE SENT OVER LONG DISTANCES.

THEN THE WESTINGHOUSE COMPANY SET TO WORK BUILDING SPECIAL ROTARY CONVERTERS -- THE FIRST EVER USED -- TO CHANGE THE ALTERNATING CURRENT INTO DIRECT CURRENT NEEDED TO RUN THE TRAINS.

THESE ROTARY CONVERTERS WERE PLACED IN SUBSTATIONS SCATTERED THROUGHOUT THE CITY. THE DIRECT CURRENT NEED ONLY TRAVEL A SHORT DISTANCE TO THE SUBWAY RAILS.

ON THE STREETS, CONSTRUCTION MEANT RIPPING OUT MILES OF WATER PIPES, SEWERS, TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH WIRES WHICH HAD TO BE RE-ROUTED ELSEWHERE.

IT CAUSED WIDESPREAD DISRUPTION.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
Construction took place actually simultaneously along the twenty mile route, which meant that for four years, until the first section of the subway opened, New York City, or that is certainly Manhattan and the Bronx -- pieces of the Bronx -- were completely torn inside out. There were workmen, and tool yards, and shanties, and stone crushers at corners and blocking the streets, and it was noisy, it was dusty and it seemed to go on forever.

Dynamiting went on day and night. There are accounts of pharmacists who complained that it was toppling all of the bottles from their shelves. The chandelier at the Princeton Club was swinging like a pendulum and all the club members ran out and said that's it, we're not, until the dynamiting is over we're not coming back into the club. It blew out windows all along Park Avenue. I mean, it was really a dreadful, dreadful period for New Yorkers.

One woman on Park Avenue, quite annoyed by the construction, complaining that not only was the machinery such a bother and keeping her up at night, but that the workmen themselves and their profane language were so noisy and could not something be done about this please?

NARRATOR
NEW YORK'S FIRST SUBWAY WAS BUILT VIRTUALLY BY HAND.. BY LABORERS WIELDING SHOVELS AND PICK AXES. THERE WERE FEW STEAM SHOVELS OR BULLDOZERS AVAILABLE.


CLIFTON HOOD
The subway was built largely by Italian immigrants and there were also a large number of German immigrants and Irish-Americans working there, as well as smaller numbers of African-Americans.

NARRATOR
THE UNSKILLED WORKERS WERE PAID A DOLLAR FIFTY TO TWO DOLLARS A DAY...SOME MADE EVEN LESS BECAUSE A CUT WAS TAKEN BY THE "PADRONES" - CONTRACTORS WHO HAD BROUGHT THE IMMIGRANTS OVER FROM ITALY.

CLIFTON HOOD
These Italian workers were migrant workers. The Italians would often come to the United States for six months or a year and then go back to Italy.

NARRATOR
ON MAY DAY, 1903, THE ITALIAN ROCKMEN AND EXCAVATORS WENT ON STRIKE, DEMANDING HIGHER PAY AND AN EIGHT HOUR DAY. IT WAS REPORTED THAT TWENTY TO THIRTY THOUSAND PEOPLE JOINED THE STRIKERS IN A MARCH.

THE FESTIVE MOOD DID NOT LAST LONG. THE CITY WOULD BROOK NO DELAYS. THERE WERE BATTLES BETWEEN THE STRIKERS AND POLICE...

AT ONE POINT, EVERY OFFICER IN THE CITY WAS PUT ON EMERGENCY DUTY. THREATENED WITH THE LOSS OF THEIR JOBS BY THE STRIKEBREAKERS, THE WORKERS STARTED DRIFTING BACK AND THE STRIKE WAS OVER.

TUNNEL WORKERS WERE PAID MORE BECAUSE OF THE DANGERS INVOLVED.

THE UNDERWATER DIGGERS -- KNOWN AS SANDHOGS -- WERE ESPECIALLY AT RISK AND AT THE TOP OF THE PAY SCALE...SIX OR SEVEN DOLLARS A DAY...MANY WERE AFRICAN-AMERICANS. AT THE TIME, IT WAS MISTAKENLY BELIEVED THAT THEY WERE BETTER ABLE TO WITHSTAND THE HEAT IN THE TUNNELS...

COAL MINERS CAME FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TO BUILD THE FORT GEORGE TUNNEL IN UPPER MANHATTAN -- ONE OF THE LONGEST TUNNELS IN THE COUNTRY.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
When word got out that they were going to be building a tunnel in New York, the miners flocked to New York. About 400 worked on the two mile long tunnel. They were paid between two dollars and three dollars and seventy five cents a day for their work. And it was very dangerous work. There were some very awful moments in that tunnel.

CLIFTON HOOD
In 1903, there was a terrible accident that happened when the contractors were pushing the work crews to work faster and to finish this section of the tunnel. They had exploded some dynamite and they went back in to clear it. They gave the all clear but when they went back in there, it turned out there was some rock that was hanging. It fell and out of this gang of workers, Italian immigrants, an Irish foreman and a German electrician were killed.

NARRATOR
THE DAY AFTER THE ACCIDENT, PARSONS MADE AN ENTRY IN HIS DIARY.

"CAREFULLY EXAMINED THE PLACE OF THE ACCIDENT...THE FALL OF ROCK WAS DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF A NEARLY HORIZONTAL SEAM, THUS PERMITTING THE ROOF TO FALL. THE PRESENCE OF
THIS SEAM COULD NOT HAVE BEEN DETECTED."

CLIFTON HOOD
Parsons' main concern was to push the I-R-T along. He wanted to finish the work and he had little concern about the lives of the workers. In his diary--he noted that the accident occurred, but he didn't bother to mention that anybody had died. And he expressed no regrets about it.

NARRATOR
ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS SECTIONS ON THE WHOLE ROUTE WAS ASSIGNED TO A SUBCONTRACTOR, IRA SHALER, A FRIEND OF PARSONS. SHALER, A 38 YEAR OLD VETERAN OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, WAS IN CHARGE OF THE AREA FROM 34TH TO 42ND STREET.

TO TUNNEL THROUGH THIS AREA, IT WAS NECESSARY TO DRILL AND BLAST DEEP THROUGH SOLID ROCK.

SHALER WAS DOOMED TO MISFORTUNE. HE BECAME KNOWN AS THE 'HOO DOO' CONTRACTOR.

FIRST, AN EXPLOSION...A WOODEN SHED STORING TWO HUNDRED POUNDS OF DYNAMITE AT 41ST STREET AND PARK AVENUE CAUGHT FIRE. THE BLAST SERIOUSLY DAMAGED THE MURRAY HILL HOTEL, SCARRED GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, AND SHATTERED GLASS FOR SEVERAL BLOCKS. FIVE PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE INJURED.

THE NEW YORK TIMES SAID WITNESSES CALLED THE EXPLOSION "THE MOST VIOLENT IN POINT OF NOISE, FORCE AND WIDESPREAD DESTRUCTION THAT HAS OCCURRED IN THE UNITED STATES FROM ANY CAUSE."

SHALER WAS BLAMED FOR CARELESSNESS IN STORING THE DYNAMITE.

ON JUNE 17TH, 1902, PARSONS INSPECTED SHALER'S WORK IN THE EAST TUNNEL. PARSONS' DIARY READS:
"STARTED WITH SHALER AT 34TH STREET AND WENT THROUGH THE EAST TUNNEL. TOLD SHALER I DID NOT
LIKE THE LOOKS OF THE ROOF AT 40TH STREET. HE
REPLIED THAT IT WAS PERFECTLY SAFE, WHEN AT ONCE
SOME ROCK FELL INJURING HIM."

A SIX HUNDRED POUND BOULDER HAD CRUSHED SHALER'S SKULL AND SPINE. HE WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL...ASKING THAT 'THE GENERAL', AS HE CALLED PARSONS, ACCOMPANY HIM.

HE DIED A FEW DAYS LATER.

THE PAPERS CALLED IT "THE CLIMAX OF SHALER'S BAD LUCK."

JOHN HETTRICK REMEMBERED:
"ALL BLASTING STOPPED...WILLIAM BARCLAY PARSONS,
THE CHIEF ENGINEER, ON THE DEATH OF IRA SHALER,
WENT TO BELMONT'S OFFICE AND SAID 'I'M THROUGH,
I'VE LOST MY DEAREST FRIEND IN THE WORLD....KILLED DOWN THERE. I'LL NOT GO ON WITH THE WORK -- I'M THROUGH.' IT LOOKED THAT DAY AS IF THERE NEVER WOULD BE A SUBWAY IN NEW YORK. IT LOOKED AS IF
THE ENTIRE THING WOULD COLLAPSE."

FOR DAYS, WORK IN THE FATAL EAST TUNNEL WAS AT A STANDSTILL...

DYNAMITE WOULD NOT BE USED THERE AGAIN.

FINALLY, PARSONS AND HIS ENGINEERS DEVISED A TECHNIQUE OF FREEZING THE SHALE TO PREVENT IT FROM FALLING AND WORK PROCEEDED.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
Parsons has been portrayed as a very cold and patrician man. I don't know that that's true. He was certainly a very shy man. He hated to speak in public. He was extremely modest, he was not given to self promotion or hoopla.

NARRATOR
PARSONS WAS GIVEN NO RESPITE DURING SUBWAY CONSTRUCTION. THERE WERE INCIDENTS NO ONE COULD HAVE IMAGINED.

CLIFTON HOOD
The workers were pushing the tunnel underneath the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and there was an accident. The compressed air escaped through the roof of the tunnel and one of the workers was actually sucked up through the roof, through the muck and actually made it alive to the top of the water.

NARRATOR
A NEWSPAPER PRINTED THE WORKER, RICHARD CREEGAN'S ACCOUNT:

"I HEARD A SIZZLING NOISE IN THE ROOF. I ONLY
REMEMBER THAT WHEN I STARTED FOR THE HOLE I
THOUGHT IT WAS ALL OVER. THEN I REALIZED THAT
I HAD BEEN SHOT UP THROUGH THE RIVER BED, AND
CLEAN ABOVE TO THE SURFACE. HOW I GOT
THROUGH THE SAND, MUD, AND WATER IS MORE
THAN I CAN TELL..."

DURING CONSTRUCTION OF THE FIRST SUBWAY, THERE WERE HUNDREDS OF ACCIDENTS. THOUSANDS WERE INJURED. AT LEAST 44 PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES.

REBECCA READ SHANOR
In 1917 Parsons was looking back on his experience as chief engineer of the New York City subway system. He said, if he had to do it all over again he would not do it. He said he was young , he was inexperienced, he didn't know at the time how enormous the job would be.

NARRATOR
"I WAS THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE WHEN I BECAME CHIEF ENGINEER OF THE RAPID TRANSIT COMMISSION. HAD I FULLY REALIZED ALL THAT WAS AHEAD OF ME, I DO NOT THINK I COULD HAVE ATTEMPTED THE WORK. AS IT WAS, I WAS TREATED AS A VISIONARY. SOME OF MY FRIENDS SPOKE PITYINGLY OF MY WASTING TIME ON WHAT THEY CONSIDERED A DREAM."

REBECCA READ SHANOR
And he said in fact that the skepticism was so great as he was designing the subway that it seriously handicapped his work. But he succeeded in the end of course.


ACT lll


NARRATOR
AFTER FOUR YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION, AN IMPATIENT CITY WAITED FOR THE OPENING OF THE SUBWAY.

THE TRAFFIC JAMS WERE WORSE THAN EVER. EXPECTATIONS SOARED. WOULD THE CITY'S PROBLEMS FINALLY BE SOLVED? WERE THE DAYS OF GRIDLOCK OVER?

CLIFTON HOOD
The subway is opened on October 27th, 1904, and it's one of the great days in New York City. The entire city has a celebration. There are ships on the East River that are blowing their horns. Church bells are ringing all over town.

NARRATOR
THE CEREMONIES WERE HELD IN THE CHAMBERS OF CITY HALL. BELMONT PRESENTED MAYOR GEORGE MCCLELLAN WITH A SILVER CONTROLLER:
"I GIVE YOU THIS," HE SAID, "WITH THE REQUEST THAT YOU PUT IN OPERATION THIS GREAT ROAD AND START IT ON ITS COURSE OF SUCCESS AND, I HOPE, OF SAFETY."

PARSONS OF COURSE WAS ALSO PRESENT...JOHN HETTRICK SAID...
"THE SHORTEST SPEECH OF ALL WAS MADE BY WILLIAM
BARCLAY PARSONS...HE DECLARED, AS CHIEF ENGINEER OF
THE SUBWAY, THAT THE RAILROAD WAS READY FOR OPERATION. -- AND THAT WAS ALL -- NOT ANOTHER
WORD."

CLIFTON HOOD
These dignitaries come down in their formal wear, they go into the City Hall subway station. And there is a ceremonial first train to tour the subway. George McClellan, who is the Mayor of New York City and the son of General George McClellan of Civil War fame is handed the controls, and the idea is that he'll take the train out of the station and then surrender the controls to one of the I-R-T's regular motormen. But McClellan is having such a great time that he refuses to do this. And so he decides to take the train on a journey through the subway. Finally he surrenders the controls, he pulls out a cigar, lights it. He's happy.

NARRATOR
LATER THAT DAY, ELECTRICITY FLOWED THE LENGTH OF THE SYSTEM AND THE DOORS OF THE SUBWAY OPENED TO THE PUBLIC...

IT SEEMED THAT ALL THE CITY'S CROWDS SUDDENLY DESCENDED UPON THE STATIONS...

THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED "INDESCRIBABLE SCENES OF CROWDING AND CONFUSION. MEN FOUGHT, KICKED, AND PUMMELED EACH OTHER IN THEIR MAD DESIRE TO REACH THE SUBWAY TICKET OFFICES...WOMEN WERE DRAGGED OUT EITHER SCREAMING IN HYSTERICS OR IN A SWOONING CONDITION."

THAT NIGHT MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE WENT DOWN UNDERGROUND TO RIDE THE SUBWAY. "DOING THE SUBWAY" THEY CALLED IT. PEOPLE GOT DRESSED UP AND HELD SPECIAL SUBWAY PARTIES.

CITY HALL STATION WAS THE SHOWPIECE...VAULTED ARCHES, CHANDELIERS...INLAID TILE.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
One of the things that makes the subway stand out in the early part of the century is that they built it as a work of art almost. It was not just a utilitarian function but to make it beautiful.

STAN FISCHLER
Every one of these stations is a little bit of artistry in its own right. It's not prosaic, there's mosaics, but there not prosaic mosaics. Each station along the line had its own designs. It wasn't really cheaply built; a place like Astor Place station will have the beaver, John Jacob Astor was a fur trapper.

NARRATOR
THE IDEA WAS TO MAKE EACH STATION EASY FOR PASSENGERS TO IDENTIFY. AND UP ON THE STREET, GLASS AND CAST-IRON KIOSKS MARKED THE STATION ENTRANCES SO THE SUBWAY WAS EASY TO FIND. THEIR DESIGN WAS COPIED FROM THE BUDAPEST METRO.

KENNETH T. JACKSON
It was a time when the city wanted to accept the accolades really of the world. That it was opening this system that had an express train. I mean, New Yorkers were in such a hurry that efficiency was so much on their minds, that they built what is still the world's almost only express trains. I mean, where you have trains running along beside each other, one is an express and one is not.

NARRATOR
THE NEW YORK SUBWAY HAD BEEN BUILT WITH FOUR TRACKS -- A LOCAL AND EXPRESS IN EACH DIRECTION. THE EXPRESS TRAINS WENT 35 MILES PER HOUR, THREE TIMES AS FAST AS THE ELEVATED....



KENNETH T. JACKSON
The subway was modern. New York was modern. The subway was seen as indicative that this is where America was going. It was not at all surprising that New York was getting there first.

NARRATOR
THE SUBWAY WAS A MATTER OF PERSONAL PRIDE TO AUGUST BELMONT...
WHO RODE IT OFTEN HIMSELF....

STAN FISCHLER
He loves trains. He loves trains so much that like the great railroad barons he has his own private car, except he has his own private subway car. It was called the Mineola, with all the appointments that's as terrific as any private railroad car, with toilets, with a commissary. You can have dinner there. And of course you can go touring.

CLIFTON HOOD
Belmont also had his own entrance into the subway. He built the Hotel Belmont near Grand Central. So he went down from his office in the Belmont to his private siding and got into the Mineola and he went out to tour his domain. August Belmont's wife once said that a private subway car is an easy taste to get used to.

NARRATOR
AND THE SUBWAY WAS SUCH A SUCCESS WITH NEW YORKERS THAT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY THE CITY WAS TRANSFORMED.

EVEN ON THE SUBWAY'S FIRST DAY, RIDERSHIP ON THE SURFACE LINES DROPPED 75 PERCENT.

THE DEMON OF CONGESTION ON THE STREETS HAD BEEN TAMED------FOR THE MOMENT-----BY THE GREATEST SUBWAY OF THEM ALL.

STAN FISCHLER
There was a tremendous surge of enthusiasm for the subway. Songs were written about the subways. A hit tune was "The Subway Glide." The subway, in a sense, took New York by storm.

NARRATOR
IT INSPIRED A DANCE....THE SUBWAY EXPRESS TWO STEP. TOURIST BOOKS URGED VISITORS TO SEE "THE FINE FINISH AND CHEERINESS OF THE STATIONS." TICKET SALES SOARED.

SHORTLY AFTER THE SUBWAY OPENED, THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE HAD ALREADY ANNOUNCED "THE BIRTH OF THE SUBWAY CRUSH."

EVEN THE SILENT FILM DRAMAS OF THE TIME TOOK NOTE...

THE UNDERGROUND RAILWAY MOVED PEOPLE, BUILT BUILDINGS...AND CHANGED NEIGHBORHOODS FOREVER...

ON BLOCKS OF VACANT LOTS, APARTMENT BUILDINGS SUDDENLY SPROUTED UP... THE FARMLAND AND DIRT ROADS OF THE OUTER BOROUGHS WERE TURNED INTO SUBWAY SUBURBS, DRAWING PEOPLE NORTH FROM CROWDED DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN...

KENNETH T. JACKSON
The city is transformed physically by the subway system and the density begins to drop. So the subway is -- what it's essentially doing is taking down the most densely settled neighborhoods and raising up the density on the edges of the city. Essentially spreading the population out, which is exactly what its promoters had hoped for.

NARRATOR
AND SUBWAY RIDERSHIP PROVED THE SKEPTICS WRONG...

CLIFTON HOOD
Already by 1907 the subway's exceeded its maximum capacity. So, it's more crowded in the early days, before World War I than it ever would be since.

CALEB CARR
In a city like New York, everything's always going to be crowded. If we were to put in twice as many trains as we have now, the trains wouldn't be half as crowded, they'd be just as crowded. It just would be twice as many people would be traveling on them.

NARRATOR
BACK IN 1900, THE SUBWAY'S CHIEF ENGINEER, WILLIAM BARCLAY PARSONS HAD WRITTEN...

"FOR NEW YORK THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A
SOLUTION TO THE RAPID TRANSIT PROBLEM. BY THE TIME THE RAILWAY IS COMPLETED, AREAS THAT ARE
NOW GIVEN OVER TO ROCKS AND GOATS WILL BE COVERED WITH HOUSES AND THERE WILL BE CREATED
FOR EACH NEW LINE A SPECIAL TRAFFIC OF ITS OWN. THE INSTANT THAT THIS LINE IS FINISHED THERE
WILL ARISE A DEMAND FOR OTHER LINES."

PARSONS WAS RIGHT. NEW SUBWAY CONSTRUCTION BEGAN IN 1907...AND CONTINUED AT FULL PACE FOR THE NEXT THREE DECADES. IT HAS NEVER COMPLETELY STOPPED...

IN 1912, WORKMEN DIGGING FOR A NEW BROADWAY LINE STUMBLED UPON THE WALL OF A TUNNEL...IT WAS ALFRED BEACH'S PNEUMATIC RAILWAY...COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN, BUT INTACT...

HIS TUNNEL WOULD BE DEMOLISHED TO MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW SUBWAY.

BUT THERE WAS THE CAR STILL ON ITS TRACKS...THE ELEGANT WAITING ROOM...EMPTY AND SILENT...WAS A TESTAMENT TO BEACH'S DREAM OF A SUBWAY THAT WOULD TRANSFORM THE CITY AND HOW AMERICA THOUGHT OF MASS TRANSIT...

NARRATOR
THE SAME DREAM THAT GOT THE FIRST SUBWAY BUILT...AND INSPIRED THOSE WHO SAW IT...

SOON AFTER THE TRAINS BEGAN RUNNING, THE FUTURIST H.G. WELLS HAD WRITTEN...

"ONE ASSUMES THAT ALL AMERICA IS IN THIS VEIN
AND THAT THIS IS THE WAY THE FUTURE MUST INEVITABLY GO. ONE HAS THE VISION OF BRIGHT ELECTRICAL SUBWAYS AND A SHINING ORDER OF EVERYTHING WIDER, TALLER, CLEANER, BETTER."

THE END



Credits

Written and produced by
ELENA MANNES

Edited by
DONNA MARINO

Co-producer
LIBBY KREUTZ

Photographed by
GREG ANDRACKE

Original Music Composed and Arranged by
BRIAN KEANE

Narrator
LEN CARIOU

Sound
DEAN SARJEANT

Associate Producer
SASHA WATERS

Research
AMY SCHEWEL

Additional Photography
TOM HURWITZ

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ELIZABETH DORY

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HEATHER PIGOTT

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Assistant Editors
AMINA MEGALLI
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RENA C. KOSERSKY

Musicians
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MARSHALL COID - Violin
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Grips
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Mosaic Still Photographed by
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Passages from The Waterworks
Published by Random House, Inc.
Copyright 1994 by E.L. Doctorow

Special Thanks To
MIKE AMOROSO
EVA CARROZZA
KATHLEEN COLLINS
JOE CUNNINGHAM
PETER DERRICK
BOB DIAMOND
DAVID DURST
ELECTRIC RAILROAD ASSOCIATION
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IRVING KREUTZ
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MIDDLEMARCH FILMS
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LLOYD ULTAN


For
THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

Post Production Supervisor
FRANK CAPRIA

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REBECCA BARNES

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JUDY CRICHTON


Executive Producer
MARGARET DRAIN

An Elena Mannes Productions, Inc. Film
for
THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
is a production of WGBH/Boston.




program transcript | web and photo credits

ABOUT THE PROGRAM | THE SECRET SUBWAY | BEYOND THE IRT | DEATH BENEATH THE STREETS | BIBLIOGRAPHY | TEACHER'S GUIDE

TELEPHONE | BIG DREAM SMALL SCREEN | NEW YORK UNDERGROUND | TECHNOLOGY TIMELINE | FORGOTTEN INVENTORS