That meant purchasing a ticket at a manned wooden booth, then handing the paper ticket to an employee at a ticket chopper box.
The Wall Street station still has an original wooden booth (below) and ticket chopper (right), beautifully restored.
The cost of a ride in 1904, when the ticket system (and the subway itself) started: five cents.
Turnstiles that accepted coins were installed in the 1920s, to save money and prevent theft.
In 1953, token-taking turnstiles arrived on platforms. And not long behind, as crime worsened, came the bullet-proof glass, fortress-like token booth we know today.