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722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York
by Clifton Hood
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press 1995
Category: Non-fictionTransit20th century
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New York City's rapid transit system, the longest in the world, was built between 1904 and 1940, and initially was operated as three separate lines (Interborough Rapid Transit, or IRT; Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit, or BMT; and the Independent System, or IND), all of which were eventually unified into one municipal system. Hood, a professor of history at Hobart and William Smith College in New York, here provides a clear, perceptive and carefully researched study of this engineering feat and the ways in which the subway led to an expansion of the metropolitan area. Financed by both private and public funds, construction was hampered by conflicts between financiers and politicians, as well as by geological obstacles which led to devastating underground accidents. Hood convincingly argues that the takeover of the subways by the Transit Authority in 1953 resulted in a progressive deterioration that can only be remedied by government subsidies.

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