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19 Unbelievable Pictures From The Early Years Of The NYC Subway

On Oct. 27, 1904, New York City's first subway line opened to the public and the Big Apple has never been the same since.

Posted on October 27, 2018, at 11:33 a.m. ET

A man asleep on the subway, 1939.
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A man asleep on the subway, 1939.

A woman standing by the entrance to a New York subway station, circa 1952.
Ernst Haas / Getty Images

A woman standing by the entrance to a New York subway station, circa 1952.

After leaving the subway train, a young New York couple stops to look through some records at Downstairs Records, a shop at the Times Square station, on Feb. 13, 1962.
Ruben Goldberg / AP

After leaving the subway train, a young New York couple stops to look through some records at Downstairs Records, a shop at the Times Square station, on Feb. 13, 1962.

Jerry Shocket, left, pours champagne for guests on the city’s subway “dream car” on Jan. 17, 1962.
John Rooney / AP

Jerry Shocket, left, pours champagne for guests on the city’s subway “dream car” on Jan. 17, 1962.

Police officers lead commuters through a subway tunnel where they were trapped during a power failure on Nov. 20, 1965.
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Police officers lead commuters through a subway tunnel where they were trapped during a power failure on Nov. 20, 1965.

The subway station at Canal and Lafayette streets serves as a blackout shelter during World War II on Aug. 13, 1943.
Weegee / Getty Images

The subway station at Canal and Lafayette streets serves as a blackout shelter during World War II on Aug. 13, 1943.

A group of men pose during the excavation of the Lexington Avenue subway line, 1910.
Fpg / Getty Images

A group of men pose during the excavation of the Lexington Avenue subway line, 1910.

The subway line at Delancey and Eldridge streets under construction, 1908.
David Pollack / Getty Images

The subway line at Delancey and Eldridge streets under construction, 1908.

The opening of the first subway on Oct. 27, 1904. In attendance and riding the first train were municipal officials and civic and business leaders. At that time, the underground extended for 21 miles.
Photoquest / Getty Images

The opening of the first subway on Oct. 27, 1904. In attendance and riding the first train were municipal officials and civic and business leaders. At that time, the underground extended for 21 miles.

The women-only car of the Hudson River subway train, circa 1901.
Heritage Images / Getty Images

The women-only car of the Hudson River subway train, circa 1901.

Men inspect the automatic control board at the 207th Street station on Oct. 13, 1931.
/ AP

Men inspect the automatic control board at the 207th Street station on Oct. 13, 1931.

Secretaries sorting through petitions demanding the construction of new subway lines, New York City, circa 1923. The campaign was being run by a pro-expansion advocacy group, the Citizens' Committee of One Thousand, chaired by pen manufacturer and future mayoral candidate Frank D. Waterman.
Paul Thompson / Archive Photos / Getty Images

Secretaries sorting through petitions demanding the construction of new subway lines, New York City, circa 1923. The campaign was being run by a pro-expansion advocacy group, the Citizens' Committee of One Thousand, chaired by pen manufacturer and future mayoral candidate Frank D. Waterman.

Interior view of a subway car with upholstered seats, circa 1935.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Interior view of a subway car with upholstered seats, circa 1935.

A lunch counter in a New York subway station, 1937.
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A lunch counter in a New York subway station, 1937.

Crash site of two subway trains that collided on an elevated track, circa 1920.
Hirz / Getty Images

Crash site of two subway trains that collided on an elevated track, circa 1920.

View of flooded subway tracks in the Bronx, 1940.
Weegee(arthur Fellig) / Getty Images

View of flooded subway tracks in the Bronx, 1940.

A derailed New York subway train on an elevated track nearly crashed down to the street, circa 1904.
Ullstein Bild Dtl. / Getty Images

A derailed New York subway train on an elevated track nearly crashed down to the street, circa 1904.

Firefighters rest after fighting a subway tunnel fire at West 55th Street and Broadway, 1915.
Universal History Archive / Getty Images

Firefighters rest after fighting a subway tunnel fire at West 55th Street and Broadway, 1915.

A mother sits behind her two young children as they look out the window of a New York City subway train, 1948.
Rae Russel / Getty Images

A mother sits behind her two young children as they look out the window of a New York City subway train, 1948.


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