Building the New York subway system, 110 years ago

35 Photos

The first subway line, which connected City Hall with Harlem, opened on Oct. 27, 1904. That four-track line ran under Park Avenue South to Grand Central, across 42nd Street to Times Square, and up Broadway to 145th Street.

“The subway system has come a long way since that fall day in 1904,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco in a news release about the anniversary. “More than 100 years ago, you could only take the subway for that one stretch in Manhattan. Now we can get from the top of the Bronx to the beaches of Far Rockaway with just one swipe of a MetroCard. It’s remarkable how the system has evolved over the years, and we’re excited to show customers what the future will bring with the opening of Fulton Center and the 7 Line extension to the far west side on the horizon.”

Here, we dug up a collection of photos from the Library of Congress and the Detroit Publishing Company that shows the construction and early years of the New York subway system.