[Date Prev][Date Next] [Chronological] [Thread] [Top]

Re: Re:Re: (erielack) NY Harbor


First, let me echo Schuyler's endorsement of the Condit books. I would add
John Doig's "Empire on the Hudson" to dispel the railfan mythology regarding
the Port [of] Authority.

As Schuyler also points out, the Lackawanna looked into its own passenger
terminal; it apparently also looked into building the MU fleet to be able to
fit through the H&M uptown tunnels -- though it was clear that there's have
to be major tunnel work and realignment at Morton Street, and that
proceeding on that possibility would not be prudent.

But the big plnas were always the "Great Bridge" -- usually at 57th Street.
This thing was kicking around until the depression made it clear it was a
pipedream. Some minor construction was even started -- I believe there
is/was some sort of plaque installed on the NJ side some years ago to
commemorate it.

The New York and New Jersey Railroad was a corporation organized to build  a
union rairoad and station in Manhattan; there was also a New York and New
Jersey Bridge Company to build the bridge itself. At various times, all the
NJ railroads participated, the Susquehanna's Garret Hobert among them (just
to show that there was some interest when railroads were flush). . On can
clearly see that these folk were serious -- but there were tremendous
technical difficulties. A plan for the world's longest cantilever span was
rejected because it required a pier in the navigable waterway. The huge
suspension plan looks even more technically outlandish.

When the railroads were still serious about this, there were alsways
recriminations about the PRR's presence. Some believed the PRR was always
secretly sabatoging the plans directly, and on the New York side, the
NYCentral was always figuring out new state laws that would prevent NJ
Railroads from serving more than incidental customers in Manhattan. At one
point they even fought the idea of the LV and Erie serving Terminal Stores
as a foot in the door for perhaps more extensive trackage serving Manhattan.
If you look at the maps of the Erie, PRR, and B&O rail operations in
Manhattan, the NYC West Side Freight Line is always a Chinese wall beyond
which none could go.

There are artists renderings in several different books as well as
contemporary newspaper accounts. Middleton's "Manhattan Gateway" has several
different renderings. I always suggest Rebecca Reed Shanor's "The City that
Never Was" if one in really a bug in the things that never got built. This
book is also a great antidote to that often-ignorant "We never build
anything anymore" business -- one gets to see what they didn't build a
hundred years ago <g>.

Don't feel bad for the railroads -- even the mighty Port [of] Authority was
not permitted to build a bridge at midtown -- hence the Lincoln tunnel, and
the bridge they **did** build -- at 177th Street Manhattan. It differed from
the 57th St scheme in that the railroad beds (fewer of them) were to go on
the lower level rather than the upper level.

The same Mayor Hylan (of the B&O/BMT tunnel) who was pushed out of office by
Gov Al Smith also saw to it that there'd be headers in the IND subway for
the GW Bridge, but New Jersey just could never assemble the political will
to do its share, and after 30 years of New Jersey dithering, the PA added a
second highway deck.

Jim Guthrie
(whose apartment building is located on land that was a construction staging
site for Hylan's Staten Island tunnel).

	The Erie Lackawanna Mailing List
	Sponsored by the ELH&TS