New York City
This page is our gateway to New York City. Find out about the New York Central Railroad‘s Grand Central Terminal. Explore the fabulous New York City Subway System. Learn who Robert Moses. was and his impact on New York City. Understand New York City transit planning, West Side Freight Line (the “High Line”) and St Johns terminal. The New Haven Railroad and the Long Island Railroad reached into New York City. Did you know the Lehigh Valley Railroad even went into New York City (by ferry). Learn about the Jenney Plan to bring commuters into New York City and finally explore mysterious track 61 at Grand Central Terminal with its relationship to Presidents of the United States.
On the foggy morning of Saturday, July 28, 1945, Lt. Colonel William Smith was piloting a U.S. Army B-25 bomber through New York City. He was on his way to Newark Airport to pick up his commanding officer, but for some reason he showed up over LaGuardia Airport and asked for a weather report. Because of the poor visibility the LaGuardia tower wanted to him to land, but Smith requested and received permission from the military to continue on to Newark. The last transmission from the LaGuardia tower to the plane was a foreboding warning: “From where I’m sitting, I can’t see the top of the Empire State Building.”
Confronted with dense fog, Smith dropped the bomber low to regain visibility, where he found himself in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by skyscrapers. At first, the bomber was headed directly for the New York Central Building but at the last minute, Smith was able to bank west and miss it. Unfortunately, this put him in line for another skyscraper. Smith managed to miss several skyscrapers until he was headed for the Empire State Building. At the last minute, Smith tried to get the bomber to climb and twist away, but it was too late.
At 9:49 a.m., the ten-ton, B-25 bomber smashed into the north side of the Empire State Building. The majority of the plane hit the 79th floor, creating a hole in the building eighteen feet wide and twenty feet high. The plane’s high-octane fuel exploded, hurtling flames down the side of the building and inside through hallways and stairwells all the way down to the 75th floor.
World War II had caused many to shift to a six-day work week; thus there were many people at work in the Empire State Building that Saturday. The plane crashed into the offices of the War Relief Services of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Catherine O’Connor described the crash:
The plane exploded within the building. There were five or six seconds – I was tottering on my feet trying to keep my balance – and three-quarters of the office was instantaneously consumed in this sheet of flame. One man was standing inside the flame. I could see him. It was a co-worker, Joe Fountain. His whole body was on fire. I kept calling to him, “Come on, Joe; come on, Joe.” He walked out of it.
Joe Fountain died several days later. Eleven of the office workers were burned to death, some still sitting at their desks, others while trying to run from the flames.
One of the engines and part of the landing gear hurtled across the 79th floor, through wall partitions and two fire walls, and out the south wall’s windows to fall onto a twelve-story building across 33rd Street. The other engine flew into an elevator shaft and landed on an elevator car. The car began to plummet, slowed somewhat by emergency safety devices. Miraculously, when help arrived at the remains of the elevator car in the basement, the two women inside the car were still alive.
Some debris from the crash fell to the streets below, sending pedestrians scurrying for cover, but most fell onto the buildings setbacks at the fifth floor. Still, a bulk of the wreckage remained stuck in the side of the building. After the flames were extinguished and the remains of the victims removed, the rest of the wreckage was removed through the building.
The plane crash killed 14 people (11 office workers and the three crewmen) plus injured 26 others. Though the integrity of the Empire State Building was not affected, the cost of the damage done by the crash was $1 million.
New York City also known as “the city that never sleeps” has so many places of interest that it is nearly impossible to name them all. Among the most famous of them is the observation deck on the Empire State Building.
This historical attraction is located at 350 Fifth Avenue right in the heart of NYC. Constructed in the early 1930″s on the site of the old Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, this was the tallest building in the world for over forty years. The Observation Deck located on the 86th floor is 320 meters or 1050 feet above the busy streets of New York. The Observatory as it is called, is handicap accessible and is open 365 days a year.
Read more about the Empire State Building from New York Architecture Info
The Official Guide To New York City
Check out “Mary in Manhattan”
MORE NEW YORK STATE
Cooperstown is more than just baseball. There is a great golf course with a hotel. Explore Cooperstown and its beautiful Otsego Lake.
THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS OF NEW YORK STATE
See the Railroads of the Adirondacks Too
In 1925, it was said that “The New York State Barge Canal is the greatest, most important waterway engineering work in all the world’s history, in the engineering difficulties encountered, in the population concerned, in volume of available trade, and in future possibilities, in which the Barge Canal promises to far surpass any waterway or land trade route now or ever in existence, not excepting the Panama or the Suez Canal.”
A great place to visit is Albany, New York. Albany is the capital of New York State. Just the State Capitol Building and the New York State Library & Museum alone offer a great tourist attraction. The State Capitol building was constructed between 1867 and 1899 and inspired by the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris, France. Notable architectural features include its “Million Dollar Staircase.” Founded in 1614, Albany is built on the site of the Dutch Fort Orange, and its surrounding community of Beverwyck. The English acquired the site from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it Albany, in honor of the Duke of Albany. Albany is the fourth oldest continually-inhabited city and the second oldest chartered city in the United States. The Empire State Plaza was conceived by Governor Nelson Rockefeller and is now named in his honor. The Erastus Corning Tower stands 589 feet high, the tallest building in New York State outside New York City. The State University of New York campus is the second largest poured concrete structure in the world after The Pentagon. Now the administrative center of the State University of New York, the Delaware & Hudson Building has been beautifully restored. Few Railroads companies have built headquarters for themselves that could be taken for a state capitol, but that is exactly what some visitors to Albany assumed this building to be. The front façade of the Education Building completed in 1912 features a 36-column colonnade which remains one of the longest in the world and was designed in an effort to distinguish the Education Building from other New York State government buildings already existing on Capitol Hill. The columns are 90 feet in height and made of Vermont marble. The home pictured at left once belonged to the Corning family. Erastus Corning founded the New York Central Railroad in 1853. His great-grandson, Erastus Corning II, served as mayor of Albany from 1942 until 1983, the longest single mayoral term of any major city in the United States. While in Albany, try and catch Side Effects, a classical rock band. The band’s vast musical influences include genres of rhythm & blues, classical rock, country and jazz.
The Ten Eyck Hotel in Albany
As well as headquarters for the Republican State Party, it was the site of the New York Central Railroad Annual Meeting (except when Robert Young took control from the Vanderbilts when it was held in the giant New York State Armory).
Downtown State Street in Albany, New York, at night. The State Capitol is at the top of the hill.
He was the trademark of RCA and still survives. Lots of other landmarks are lost.
Erastus Corning 2nd first took the oath of office as mayor of Albany on the afternoon of Dec. 31, 1941, just three weeks after the United States entered World War II, In a career spanning two generations, he would evolve from little more than a youthful figurehead for Albany’s Democratic bosses to what many considered to be the last of the old-time political bosses and the longest-tenured mayor in the nation. During those 41 years, Albany was Corning’s city. Corning was a man to be reckoned with throughout the Capital District, his influence reaching beyond Albany City Hall and into the city school district and the county and state governments. He was the last, and some say the smartest of the urban Democratic machine bosses, a politician who brought into the 1980s an organization that, while often investigated, was never proved to have been involved in major scandal.
Picture above is a bobsled race down the Madison Avenue hill in Albany in January, 1886 (or 1888?) is shown in Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly. (Photo courtesy New York State Library). The only winter Olympic sport where the U.S. can legitimately claim origin and Albany is where it started. Switzerland admits they got the idea from the picture in Leslie’s Weekly.Bobsledding was an outgrowth of the city’s bustling lumber district along the Hudson River in north Albany near today’s Erie Boulevard. It morphed into a Victorian-era spectacle that whipped crowds of onlookers into a frenzy with its potent mix of speed and danger. The sport took root at dozens of lumber yards and wholesale dealers and they moved their product in winter months with horse-drawn timber sleighs. Some fun-loving lumberjack figured out that the large and heavy sleighs, sans horses, were a lot faster and considerably more fun when gravity took over and they slid down snow-packed hills leading to the lumber district.Eventually, entrepreneurial sorts tweaked the sleighs by a “bob” or a cut to shorten them that rendered them into 40-foot-long sleds. The “bobsleds” looked like felled telephone poles and were essentially heavy planks of lumber with a set of runners. A second innovation came with metal steering wheels mounted fore and aft that turned the runners and steered the sleds.
THE CATSKILLS OF NEW YORK STATE
Genesee Street in Utica. 6-story building at left was built by the Utica Gas & Electric Company
Two photos of Genesee Street. Both from the trolley era.
Utica is in the heart of the Mohawk Valley and is the gateway to the Adirondacks.
Check out Penney Vanderbilt’s blog about Trenton Falls on the West Canada
HUDSON RIVER VALLEY
Take a photo ride along the Hudson River. You will see some great sights such as the Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie.
Lighthouse on Hudson River near Tarrytown
The Maybrook Line was a line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which connected with its Waterbury Branch in Derby, Connecticut, and its Maybrook Yard in Maybrook, New York, where it interchanged with other carriers.
If one looks at the most popular Pages on our WebSite, over half directly reference the Maybrook Line. Lot’s of folks have an interest in it. The “Maybrook Line” was important to New England before the advent of Penn Central and before the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned. This piece of the railroad carried freight from Maybrook Yard, across the Poughkeepsie Bridge to Hopewell Junction where it joined a line from Beacon. The railroad then went to Brewster, then Danbury, and finally to Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven.
WHY and How To Fix The “MAYBROOK LINE”?
Container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge
The construction of a railroad bridge between New Hamburg and Marlboro is likely the least expensive place to build a Hudson River crossing between Manhattan and Albany. The stone for ramps, sand and gravel for concrete and a steel beam assembly and storage area would be right on sight. All materials and equipment could be transported by barge or boat. The bridge itself would have only four or five piers (the most costly part to build) since the Hudson River is about the same width as it is in Poughkeepsie.
The Hudson River component connects Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties to the world economy (finished goods, spare parts, components parts, raw materials, food stuffs) and the railroad and interstate road components connect these NY counties to the rest of North America (US, Mexico, Canada).
With the container port/intermodal facility/rail bridge, the flow in and out of raw materials, spare parts, partially finished goods, foodstuffs and components will allow for new industries and businesses to locate near this facility and add to the tax base of these three NY counties: Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties.
Although the Dutchess County Airport is a tiny regional airport with a 5,000 foot runway, it has some big potential. The airport land extends a mile Northeast of the present runway end at New Hackensack Road and borders on the former New Haven Maybrook Line/Dutchess Rail Trail. As the NY Air National Guard gets crowded out by international air traffic at Stewart International Airport their operation could be moved over to Dutchess Airport without disrupting the lives of the guard members and their families through forced relocation.
Beacon itself is exploding with “developer” activity, and it needs a trolley or light rail for the city only to transform back into a pedestrian oriented city.
Other activities include: Solidization of rail links in Connecticut to handle increased traffic; a possible HYPERLINK for improved service along the Beacon Line and in/out of New York City
Now you are going to ask. What does the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority have to do with the “BEACON LINE”? IT OWNS IT! Must realize that NYCMTA is a “regional” organization. With all that went on with Penn-Central and CONRAIL somebody had to own it!
So what would a “revised” rail line look like?
To begin with, the line from Maybrook to the Hudson River is gone. Railroads that previously entered Maybrook can reach the Hudson River and head up the old West Shore to the proposed bridge at New Hamburg. But the old Poughkeepsie Bridge is no longer in service, as well as the tracks to Hopewell Junction. At Marlboro, trains would take the old New York Central Hudson Division to Beacon, New York. Yes, with both Metro North and Amtrak using the Hudson Line, it may require an additional track.
From Beacon trains would travel the Beacon Line over the Housatonic Railroad to Derby-Shelton, Connecticut. Trains would go to Cedar Hill Yard. Some traffic may go to Long Island. With traffic revitalized, other trains will even go to Waterbury!
SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK
Renewed Schenectady Electric Railway Building
The Schenectady Railway’s former Art-Deco waiting room on State Street Hill in Schenectady has been restored… A business from Troy called ‘Sliding Dirty’ has moved into the former Railway building.
The new waiting room opened in 1914. From this location, cars would leave for Troy and Albany. Also, FJ&G Electric Cars left from this location to return to Gloversville.
From Gino’s Rail Blog
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK
A great, great WebSite about HUDSON VALLEY RAILROADS
No, it is not ours! It is very comprehensive and professional.
It is written by professionals, not railfans. Lots of really neat stories about the old railroads. Lots of great links too!
All about the Walkway Over The Hudson (old bridge from Maybrook to Beacon)
All about Metro-North Railroad
From their biblioraphy:
“New York Central Railroad and New York State Railroads.” GOURMET MOIST / Kingly Heirs. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. . This website talks about the different railroads that eventually merged to form the New York Central Railroad. It also discusses where the railroads runs to and from.”
Since 2010, it has become a part of our WebSite:
Important Link: “What Railroads Connected At Maybrook?“
Spuyten Duyval on the Hudson Line
(old vehices, shelters, garbage trucks)