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New York Metropolitan Tram: H H Jor,nsconc,1908-1910.

The first instances of 'streetcars' in New York were simple affairs. Pulled by horses, the small, squat boxes first took the to the streets in 1832, giving way to more efficient electric system pictured here by the late 1880s. The transit network proved staggeringly popular, spreading rapidly and becoming the most dominant form of public transport in American cities throughout the first half of the 20th century. So numerous were the streetcars in suburbs such as Brooklyn, the act of avoiding them while walking across streets became known as 'trolley dodging' - a name adopted by the area's famous baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Unfortunately, clean, cheap and (relatively) safe public transit system wasn't to last for New York. Hostilities between privately-owned trolley companies and local governments who felt they warranted a share of profits grew. Worse, National City Lines, a shell company for a consortium of General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone Tires, all keen to promote their new gas-guzzling, rubber-burning automobiles, would commit outright sabotage on the tram network's infrastructure. Lines would literally be ripped up while tram operators would be bought out under the name of small bus companies who would then replace the streetcars with less efficient buses. The consortium was eventually found guilty of 'criminal conspiracy to destroy the American streetcar system' by the US legal system in the 1950s but by that time the damage was done and the trams were gone.

Intriguingly though, it seems the New York 'streetcar' may soon be reappearing. Present city mayor, Bill de Blasio, has put forward plans to reintroduce the tram system on a 17-mile line along the East River waterfront from 2024. The $2.5billion project will connect the Astoria neighbourhood in Queens, east of Manhattan Island, with Sunset Park in Brooklyn to the south.

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Title Annotation:IMAGE
Comment:New York Metropolitan Tram: H H Jor,nsconc,1908-1910.(IMAGE)
Publication:Geographical
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Dec 1, 2019
Words:298
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