The Vastness of New York City

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How vast is the New York City’s mass transit system?

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New York City, one of the world’s most vibrant cities, has one of the biggest public transportation systems of North America. Everyday hundreds of thousands people enter this city as workers or as tourists. New York City has excellent connectivity to all of its neighboring states: New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Every section of Manhattan, the heart of New York City, is easily accessible via public transit. Subway trains and buses traverse though the city 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The subway system started more than 100 years ago and since then, it has been continuously updated and renovated: new lines and technical updates like ticket vending machines, automatic signals and expansions and new connectivity to other trains continue. Although other U. S. metropolitan cities such as Boston, Los Angles, and Washington, DC, also have large mass transit systems, New York City’s mass transit system is the biggest among them all. It includes trains, buses and ferries connecting Manhattan to the other four boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island) and to the neighboring areas via MTA subway trains and buses. Connection is also available through NJ transit trains and buses, Long Island Rail Road trains, and Metro North trains. The other modes of transportation include Amtrak train, Staten Island and additional ferries, and bus services that connect the New York City to far flung cities and towns.

MTA subway trains have the major share of ridership, more than 80 percent of the total numbers of people traveling in New York City use MTA subway. These subway trains, running 24x7, keep thousands of cars off the roads and help the city by reducing sound and air pollution. This saves energy, and also helps keep the city ‘Green.’ Although the subway system has many positives, some of the major negatives include criminal activities in subways trains and stations, such as robberies, assaults, burglaries, rapes, and even murders. Noise pollution is also another major source of concern. Richard Neitzel et al reported in their research, published in American Journal of Public Health, that mass transit noise exposure has the potential to exceed limits recommended by the World Health Organization and the US Environmental Protection Agency and thus cause noise-induced hearing loss among riders of all forms of mass transit given sufficient exposure durations (Neitzel). Crime and other issues (like noise pollution) need to be looked into, but such issues may be negligible in comparison to the major benefits of this gigantic mass transit system that started more than 100 years back. In 2004, the New York Subway celebrated its centennial (Ronald).

Although the construction of the New York City subway system started 112 years back on March 24, 1900, the first pneumatic subway to transport passengers in New York City started 142 years ago on Feb 26, 1870. Alfred Ely Beach, an inventor and publisher of Scientific American magazine, in 1867 began the construction of the very first tunnel. This novel transportation system worked for three years transporting passengers between Warren and Murray streets on Broadway until 1873, when it closed because of financial and political issues (Ronald).

As shown in figure 1, the construction of the first IRT subway started on March 24, 1900. A few accidents happened during the tunnel digging project and one of the most prominent was the Fort George Tunnel Explosion, on Oct 24th, 1903. Ten workers lost their lives during that explosion. The first Inter-borough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway, nine miles, opened on Oct 27, 1904. The IRT subway project was completed on Aug 1, 1908. In June of 1923, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT) Company was formed by acquiring the...
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