October 27th, 2004


This Day In History, 1904

This is a special one, a 100th anniversary. Looks like there was a lot going in New York City in 1904.

New York City Subway Opens
The first rapid-transit subway system in America is opened in New York City by Mayor George McClellan. The first route of New York's subway ran north from City Hall, under Lafayette Street and Park Avenue to Grand Central Station, west along 42nd Street to Times Square, then north on Broadway to 145th Street. At 2:35 in the afternoon, the first subway train emerged from the City Hall station, with Mayor McClellan at the controls. The mayor liked his job as engineer so much that he stayed at the controls until the train reached Broadway and 103rd Street. At 7 p.m., the subway opened to the general public, and more than 100,000 people paid a nickel each to take a ride beneath Manhattan. Today, the New York subway system is the largest in the world.

New York's subway wasn't the first one built in the United States -- that honor belongs to Boston -- but it is currently the largest system, with about 722 miles of track. It also stays open 24 hours a day.

I'm into NYC history, as many people here know, and I grew up using the NYC subway, where other people grow up going everywhere by car. From the time I was 11 years old, I commuted by subway to school every day. I remember seeing the tokens change (and now they use Metrocards), and the maps change, and even the names of the trains change.

By the way, from 1941 to 1976 the subway ran the "MIss Subways" contest, in which each month, a new woman would be given the title, with her picture and description of what she wanted to do with her life posted on subway cars throughout the system. By the time I was a regular rider, 1981, the contest was over. But they've revived it as "Ms. Subways" and given the honor for the year to a new winner, Caroline Sanchez-Bernat, of Morningside Heights. The New York Times has a nice article about this here: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/nyregion/26subway.html or here

Mom Update - Surgery Possible

I spoke with Mom this morning. She didn't have the endoscopy yesterday, but they're scheduling one for her today. Her hematocrit keeps bouncing up and down, and they're talking about doing gastroenterological surgery to repair her stomach. There is a possibility that they will go straight from the scope to the surgery today, depending on what they find.

In the meantime, I'm keeping up with writing and meeting gnomi for lunch today downtown at the Milk Street Cafe.

This Day In History, 2004

The Red Sox Win the World Series

Given the number of times the Boston Red Sox have been World Champions since then, it's sometimes hard for the current generation to believe what it was like for Red Sox fans way back in 2004. The Sox had not won a World Series since 1918, despite having made it to the Series four times before. Their most recent loss, in the seventh game of the 1986 Series, had convinced "Red Sox Nation" that a curse existed on their beloved team, keeping them from ever winning a World Series.

But 2004 was a magic year for the team. Due to the creation of the "wild card" concept just a few years before, the Sox managed to make it to the American League Championship Series, where they became the first team to come back from having lost the first three games to defeat their main rivals, the New York Yankees. And once they won those four games in a row, there was no beating them. They took the Cardinals down in four games straight, on the same night as a total lunar eclipse appeared in the skies over North America.