The more things change, the more they stay the same. Some of New York City’s main modes of transportation have been around for a long time. The elevated trains began operating in NYC in 1878. In 1883, The Brooklyn Bridge offered an alternative to ferries for commuting from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Beginning in 1904, the subway took the trains underground. While these marvels of infrastructure are still important today, there have been changes. Travel back in time to imagine the awe that these more efficient forms of transportation would have inspired.
Choose your adventure below!
Now a park, once a link for industry at The Highline
The old made new again. As you explore the High Line, look for evidence of its past use. What can you find that indicates that an elevated train ran through this modern urban landscape? The High Line didn’t carry just any train; freight trains carrying goods ran through the buildings into which they were delivering. As you look down, imagine the Meatpacking district as a center of industry. Where now there are shops and restaurants, envision factories and slaughterhouses. Let the beautiful scenery fade, and sketch a scene as the High Line once was. This is a time travel adventure you may not want to linger in. Come back to the 21st century and enjoy exploring the High Line.
Descend into the past at the New York Transit Museum
As you descend into the Transit Museum, imagine you were riding the subway in a different time. Move onto the platform, and enter the subway cars of the past. What features are the same? What has changed? As you explore the subway cars of the past, take a photo or sketch your favorite advertisement. After exploring the subway cars of the past, step back into the present to explore all the workings of NYC’s public transportation in the interactive exhibits.
Spanning time, and the East River: The Brooklyn Bridge
No subway, and no bridges. The only way to cross from the City of Brooklyn to the City of New York had been by ferry. Imagine the sense of wonder as the engineering marvel connected what were two independent cities. The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883; New York City was not consolidated to include Brooklyn until 1898. Things of the past weren’t always less expensive. When you travel back in time, be prepared to pay a toll to cross the bridge, 1 cent for pedestrians, 5 cents for a horse and rider, and 10 cents for a horse and wagon. As you cross the bridge, consider the things that wouldn’t have been there in 1883. Create a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge with one half representing today, and the other, that of the turn of the 20th Century. Hint, it’s not only the skyscrapers that you wouldn’t see.