Posts Tagged ‘Holland Tunnel’

The cost of entering a city tunnel in the 1960s

September 4, 2011

Last month, the Port Authority voted to hike tolls by more than 50 percent over the next five years.

No big deal if you don’t leave Manhattan—or don’t drive. But by 2015, it’ll run bridge and tunnelers up to $15 to cross over.

It’s hefty price compared to toll costs in the early 1960s, when this city street map was published.

The Holland Tunnel toll cost 50 cents. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel a mere 35 cents.

Drivers in the early 1960s forked over about the same amount of coin to use the Lincoln Tunnel (50 cents) and the Queens Midtown Tunnel (25 cents).

Adjust the numbers for inflation, however, and those tolls shouldn’t be more than $3.70 today.

“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.”

What were the seven wonders of New York City?

July 1, 2010

In April 1953, a New York engineering group set out to create a list of the city’s version of the seven wonders of the world.

Number one was the George Washington Bridge, followed by the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, and the subway.

Rounding out the final three were the city water system, the Holland Tunnel, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (partly built in 1944 at left).

The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel? I don’t think that would make a 2010 list.

In 1929, a merchants’ organization tried to compile a list of seven wonders. According to the then–Manhattan borough president, they are:

The subway, the Hudson River tunnels, the East River Bridges, the Woolworth Building, the Statue of Liberty, the “Great White Way,” and Coney Island.

A smooth ride through the Holland Tunnel

March 30, 2009

If only vehicles went through the tunnel with this kind of ease and order all the time. Before the Holland Tunnel opened in November 1927, the only way to cross the Hudson River was by one of 15 different ferry lines.


The tunnel was named after its chief engineer, Clifford Milburn Holland, who died before it was finished. The heart attack that killed him was attributed in part to the stress of working on the tunnel.

This 1920s postcard is part of the Walker Evans collection on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a great exhibit with lots of New York postcards capturing the pre-war city—definitely worth a visit.