From Publishers Weekly
In celebration of the New York City subway systems 100th birthday, Diehl (The Great Pennsylvania Station; Automat) offers up this easy-to-read, informative history. From its beginnings as an underground amusement ride, to the development of the IRT, BMT and IND rail systems, to its crime-ridden and graffiti-covered fall in the 70s and, finally, to its current revival, the system has had a more colorful history than most straphangers and tourists realize. Diehls well-pitched nostalgia leads readers to appreciate the wonder of the subways nascent period and to imagine how incalculably different New York would be today had the transit option that is so taken for granted not been created how and when it was. As Diehl shows, the subway and the cities of New York and Brooklyn grew up together and gave each other character. Tracks werent always laid to reach existing neighborhoods. Often neighborhoods sprung up as subway service pushed out farther from the city, while the areas below the elevateds (now long gone) developed a reputation for shadiness in every sense of the word. Those familiar with the layout of the city will most appreciate the implied differences between then and now but any fan of trains, history, New York or grand public works will enjoy the ride. Although Diehls tribute is not the definitive work on the subject, this book passes on enough fascinating tidbits, evocative depictions and serious history to have wide appeal. 60 b/w and 20 color photos.
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About the Author
LORRAINE B. DIEHL is the author of The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station and coauthor of The Automat, and has contributed to the New York Daily News, New York magazine, the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, and American Heritage. She grew up and still lives in New York City, with her husband, Bill, an entertainment correspondent for ABC network radio.