Trollies, Elevated Trains, Subways, Carriages, Cars, Buses, and Boats

HOME - New York City - Kleindeutschland

Horse drawn streetcars started running in New York City in 1832.

The Long Island Railroad began operation on april 18, 1836. By 1840 New York, with 36 wharves on the East River and fifty on the Hudson, was second only to London among the ports of the world.

By 1848 Manhattan was built solidly up to 34th Street.

By 1848, there was already a row of houses on 42nd Street.

By 1848, Broadway between the Battery and Chambers was being paved with granite blocks.

In 1848, Fifth Avenue above 18th Street was an unpaved bumpy road.

In 1848, Yorkville was a village of about a hundred houses. During the Civil War streetcar drivers lost their bid for an 11 hour work day.

1900: the streets were not paved.

The first cars appeared in New York shortly before the turn of the century. By 1895 there were 300 motor vehicles operating in America. The speed limit was 9 miles an hour. Until 1900 all cars were custom made and were the playthings of the rich. In 1900 there were 13, 824 automobiles in the United States.

In 1901 New York state ordered motorists to buy a license at the cost of $1.

Traffic lights were introduced in 1922.

Tidbits from The Epic of New York City by Edward Robb Ellis, 2004

In 1898 walking and street cars were the most popular modes of transportation in the city. Ferries were used to get from New Jersey, Staten Island and Brooklyn to Manhattan.

The rich had their own carrages and the poor could not afford the expensive fares of hired cabs. However, an article in The Outlook in 1898 makes the folowing interesting comment about the hired cabs"

"Their fares are mainly persons invited to the ostentatious funerals so dear to our Irish and Italian fellow-citizens of the humbler sort; persons going to occasional social affairs; and to strangers picked up at the steamer-landings and railroad stations"
In 1898 on the evelated cars;
"The fare is always five cents, and for this, on the island, you may ride on the elevated roads from One Hundred and Seventieth Street and Third Avenue clear around the city to Eight Avenue and One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Street--- nearly twenty miles"

Third Avenue El

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


No date.

The Third Avenue Elevated Train line was built in 1878. Notice the train above and the horse drawn trollies on tracks below.

"Crosstown Rapid Transit, 1905, N.Y. City"
Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Munsey magazine, 1902, collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Yes, but.....

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Traffic on West Side Highway, Looking North From 46th Street, New York City

You Would Think We Would Learn
New York City, State, and Nation by Sol Holt, a 1955 Junior High School civics book.

The caption on this page reads
" Although the slow horse-drawn wagons have almost disappeared from our streets, the many thousands of automobiles, trucks and buses still cause many traffic jams and delays, as shown above. Our tunnels and bridges carry so many motor vehicles into New York every day that the city has a serious traffic problem"


Outlook magazine, 1898, collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Ferryboats in the Ice

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Municipal Ferry Boat, Posted 1910


The East River ferries have been put out of business by the bridges. Riders are better off, but industry suffers. The bridge grades are hard on horse-drawn vehicles, and the industries have been on the waterfront from time immemorial, which makes their haul to the bridge approaches longer at both ends of the routes.

The industries cannot move to the bridge ends because they receive and ship by water routes. The ferries hve been started and stopped several times since 1908."

The New York Times July 29, 1918

The article goes on to say that the city had been losing money on the ferry operations. Apparently waterfront property had also decreased in value after the opening of the bridges.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

I have two versions of this car. One posted in 1907 the other in 1908. The 1907 card is black and white and labeled "New York Harbor from Brooklyn Bridge"

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Governor's Island from the East River Bridge, New York

Posted 1906.

The East River Bridge was known as the Brooklyn Bridge.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

New York Ferry Boat to Hoboken

Not posted.

The ferry in this post card was the PRINCETON. Late in the afternoon of December 17, 1901 on her run to Jersey City the PRINCETON crashed into her sister vessel the HUDSON CITY in the heavy snow and mist off the Desbrosses Street pier. The boat was crowed with passengers and horse dawn vehicles. Nether boat received serious damage but there was considerable panic among the passengers, two of whom were injured.

The New Metropolis, 1899 - Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Grand Street Ferry Depot


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© Maggie Land Blanck - Page created in 2010 from a preexisting page that was greated in 2005 - Latest update, November 2011