Posts Tagged ‘Hudson Tubes’

An old postcard peeks inside the Hudson Tubes

December 29, 2012

Here’s a glimpse inside the cast-iron tube PATH trains travel through as they shuttle from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan.

Engineered by the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Company, they opened to the public with huge fanfare in 1908.

McAdootunnelpostcard

Known as the Hudson Tubes, they were also called the McAdoo Tunnels, named after William Gibbs McAdoo, who financed construction and led the efforts to link the two states by rail.

Vintage subway signage at a Sixth Avenue station

February 16, 2012

The Sixth Avenue and 14th Street station opened in 1940—a busy, grimy, not particularly inspiring or attractive stop connecting the F and M to the L, 1, 2, and 3 trains.

But it does have terrific old-school mosaic signs that make you feel like you’re back in midcentury Manhattan.

Like this one, directing you toward the Independent Subway—today’s Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue lines.

Transferring to the BMT Lines—the initials stood for Brooklyn Manhattan Transit, the company that once oversaw the L (plus the J, M, N, Q, and R trains)—is easy with this helpful arrow.

Even better is this mosaic telling travelers how to get to the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, aka today’s PATH, which shares an entrance to the station. When was the last time you heard the PATH referred to as the H&M?

“New York Entrance to the Holland Tubes”

May 25, 2011

This 1920s postcard of the entrance to the Holland Tunnel looks like a Hollywood set, not real lower Manhattan.

The “tubes,” as they were known then, opened in November 1927 to incredible fanfare. The New York Times reported the next day:

“When the two flags had parted before the New York entrance, there surged beneath their drawn folds and on into the chill depths of the white-tiled, brilliantly lighted subaqueous thoroughfare, an almost solid mass of pedestrians eager to make the trip from shore to shore afoot.

“It was estimated that within an hour 20,000 or more persons had walked the entire 9,250 feet from entrance to exit, and the stream of humanity, thinning a little toward the last, continued to traverse the tunnel until 7 p.m., when it was closed until 12:01 a.m., the hour set for vehicular traffic to begin its regular, paid passage.”

When subway cars almost became women-only

December 29, 2010

They were called “suffragette cars” when they were introduced in March 1909 on trains of the Hudson Tubes, which took passengers from Manhattan to Hoboken (today’s PATH).

And test runs of these single-sex subway cars—the last car in each train reserved for women only during rush hours—were also deemed a success. So much of a success, IRT officials considered the idea for the then–five year old New York City subway.

One women’s group, the Women’s Municipal League, supported the idea, while a host of others opposed it, stating that it was impractical and unnecessary.

After months of debate, the idea was abandoned. Officials decided that the Hudson Tube women-only cars weren’t that successful after all, and that women didn’t want them anyway.

Said one official in an August 1909 New York Times article:

“Almost an equal number of people (to the advocates of women’s cars) stated that men are the best protection that women have in a crowded car, and that they prefer to ride in cars where men and women are together, that while there are rare occasions when some brute will take advantage of the situation to insult a lady, on the other hand the gentlemen are the best protection the ladies want against such conduct.”

And subway pervs all over the city continued rubbing up against chicks in crowded cars. . . .

[1909 Hudson Tubes photo from Photographs of Old America]

Where is the “Hudson River Tunnel Curve”?

April 26, 2010

It’s an interesting choice for a postcard: a picture of a curve in one of the “Hudson Tubes,” as they used to be called, that carried trains ferrying passengers from 33rd Street in Manhattan to Hoboken and Jersey City.

Opened in 1908 by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, they’re the same cast-iron tunnels PATH trains use today.

So where exactly is this curve, noteworthy enough to put on a postcard?

It may be just past the Christopher Street station on the way to New Jersey. A February 26, 1908 New York Times article chronicling the first train ride out of Manhattan in the new tunnel says that after Christopher Street:

“A moment later there was a slight lurch, and those in the train knew that they had rounded the curve at Morton Street and were pointing straight for the Hudson.”


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