“Yikes! What a Way To Go...New York City's Travel Experience
By Miriam Medina


Part VII
New York City's Travel Experience
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Researched and Compiled by Miriam Medina

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A) New York City's La Guardia Airport first opens. LaGuardia Field was dedicated October 15,1939 by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia. Until 1939, the air travelers from New York and the Island had to go to Newark, N.J.

B) Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The first section of the Brooklyn-Queens Connecting Highway, which connected Meeker Avenue in
Greenpoint, Brooklyn with Queens Boulevard (NY 25) in Woodside, Queens, opened to traffic in 1939. The next section of the BQE, a stretch of six-lane elevated highway between the Williamsburg and Kosciuszko bridges, opened to traffic in 1950. (25)

C)  Beginning in 1939, Robert Moses oversaw construction of the Gowanus Parkway, an elevated highway placed on top of the pillars of the old 3rd Avenue BMT Elevated Line through the Sunset Park and Gowanus sections of Brooklyn. The Gowanus Expressway, which serves as the southern extension of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, also connects the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel approach, the Prospect Expressway (NY 27), the Belt Parkway and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. (25)

D) Within one year of the opening of the Triborough Bridge in 1936, Robert Moses decided that the solution to relieving traffic congestion between the New York City-Long Island area and points north was building another bridge. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge opened three months ahead of schedule, on April 29, 1939. (25)

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A) The first section of the Long Island Expressway, a one-mile-long, six-lane viaduct over Long Island City, Queens, opened to traffic in 1940 after one year of construction. State traffic records for 1954 show an annual average daily traffic volume of about 100,000 vehicles crossing the Nassau-Suffolk county line. On June 28, 1972, the final segment east to EXIT 73 (Suffolk CR 58 / Old Country Road) was completed. (25)

B) Belt Parkway begins construction. Construction of the 36-mile-long Belt Parkway, which included the 11 ˝-mile-long Cross Island Parkway, began in 1934.When it was dedicated on June 29, 1940, The New York Times called the $30 million Belt Parkway-Cross Island Parkway route "the greatest municipal highway venture ever attempted in an urban setting." (25)

C) Cross Island Parkway: On February 25, 1930, Robert Moses announced plans for the Cross Island Parkway before a packed audience of civic leaders at the Hotel Commodore in Manhattan. When it was dedicated on June 29, 1940, The New York Times called the $30 million Cross Island Parkway-Belt Parkway route "the greatest municipal highway venture ever attempted in an urban setting." It connected the Long Island parkways to the recently opened Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, providing easier access from upstate New York and New England to Jones Beach. (25)

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In New York City, Idlewild International Airport (later Kennedy International Airport ) first opens.

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A) New York City's Port Authority first opens and will become the world's busiest bus terminal.

B) A Brooklyn-Battery crossing was needed. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel opened on May 25, 1950 at a cost of $90 million. The 9,117-foot-long tunnel, which remains today the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel in the world, was a success from the very beginning, carrying approximately 41,000 vehicles per day during its first full year of operation in 1951. The crossing was to connect two pieces of Robert Moses' rapidly expanding arterial network: the West Side Highway in Manhattan, and the "Circumferential bypass" (later known as the Gowanus Expressway and the Belt Parkway) in Brooklyn.

C) The southern section of the Van Wyck Expressway opened in 1950 from the Belt Parkway south to Kennedy Airport. It was extended north to the Kew Gardens (Grand Central Parkway-Jackie Robinson Parkway) interchange two years later. The $30 million cost of the expressway was split between the state and Federal governments. It did not take long for the new Van Wyck Expressway to become clogged with traffic. Within weeks, the six-lane expressway (three lanes in each direction) reached its "peak capacity" of 10,000 vehicles per hour. As air traffic burgeoned in the 1950's, this amount reached 20,000 vehicles per hour. The I-678 designation was not given to the Van Wyck Expressway until the early 1970's.  (25)

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On June 15, 1953, the New York State Legislature created the New York City Transit Authority (now MTA New York City Transit) as a separate public corporation to manage and operate all city-owned bus, trolley, and subway routes.(26)

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October 30, 1954 : A track connection between Brooklyn's Church Avenue and Ditmas Avenue stations establishes single-route service (on the ) from the Bronx at 205th Street to Brooklyn's Coney Island. (26)

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A) May 12, 1955 : The Third Avenue El, last elevated line in Manhattan, closes. (26)

B) New York's Long Island Expressway first opens to traffic.

C) The Roosevelt Island Bridge opened to traffic on May 18, 1955.

D) The name of the Tappan Zee Bridge was derived from Indian and Dutch origins. In pre-colonial days, the Tappan Indian tribe inhabited the area. When the Dutch inhabited New York in the 1600's, the Hudson River was called a "zee," or wide expanse of water. In 1994, the bridge was re-dedicated in honor of Malcolm Wilson, who served as governor of New York State in 1974 and 1975, and for nearly 15 years before that as lieutenant governor under Nelson Rockefeller. The Tappan Zee Bridge opened on December 15, 1955. (25)

E) December 1, 1955 : NYC Transit opens a track connection between the 60th Street tunnel and the Queens Boulevard line, to link former BMT and IND lines in Long Island City, Queens. (26)

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A) The Park Avenue (Metro-North) Railroad Bridge was opened to traffic in 1956.

B) October 31, 1956: NYC Transit discontinues its last two trolley lines, along Brooklyn's McDonald Avenue and Church Avenue. (26)

C) June 28, 1956: Subway service to Rockaway Park and Wavecrest (Beach 25th Street) in Queens begins.(26)

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A) For 190 years, private companies operated the Kingston-Rhinecliff Ferry between the first capital of New York State and Rhinecliff, Dutchess County. During World War II, decreased traffic due to gasoline rations led to losses, and at the end of 1942, the private ferries ceased operation after nearly two centuries of uninterrupted service.

B) The Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge opened to traffic on February 2, 1957, three months before the rescheduled dedication date, as a convenience to industrial workers who needed the facility after the river froze and the ferry could not run. (25)

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A) Entering the 1950s, airplane manufacturers did not want to build, or airlines to fly, jets. Jets were okay for the military, but commercial? They devoured enormous volumes of fuel. Civilian airports didn't have long enough runways. The capital investment was incalculable. Despite the opposition, on Oct. 26, 1958  Pan American World Airways began its first regular jet service between New York City and Paris, using American-built Boeing 707-121 jet transports with 111 passengers and a crew of 11. The flight lasted eight and a half hours, including a fuel stop at Gander. And the world has never been the same since then.(42)

 Queens - Airports - New York I... Digital ID: 730539F. New York Public Library

B) First domestic jet airline passenger service in the United States opened by National Airlines on December 10, 1958 between New York and Miami.

C) January 16, 1958: Subway service extended to Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue in Queens.(26)

D) Designed to connect the Throgs Neck Bridge with the major east-west arteries of Queens and Long Island, the Clearview Expressway was one of the arterial routes recommended in 1955.The interstate designations over the years were: June 1958 to December 1958: I-78 from Nassau Expressway to Long Island Expressway (I-495); I-495 from Long Island Expressway to Throgs Neck Bridge. The I-495 designation was to connect to I-95 in the Bronx via the Throgs Neck Bridge. At this time, the Long Island Expressway east of the Clearview Expressway was designated NY 24.December 1958 to 1971: I-78 from Nassau Expressway to Throgs Neck Bridge.1971 to present: I-295 from Hillside Avenue (NY 25) to Throgs Neck Bridge. Note that the southern extension of the Clearview Expressway was eliminated. (25)

E) Prior to the construction of the New England Thruway, the Boston Post Road had been the only route open to trucks and buses between New York and New England. In 1950, the New York State Legislature approved construction of the New England Thruway, and placed jurisdiction over the road to the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA). On October 15, 1958, Governor Harriman of New York and Governor Ribicoff of Connecticut opened the entire length of the thruway between the Pelham Parkway in the Bronx and the New York-Connecticut state line. The New England Thruway and the Connecticut Turnpike created a 144-mile-long express road from the Bronx to Rhode Island. (25)

F) The original Sunrise Highway was constructed as a four-to-six lane, at-grade arterial highway from southern Queens east to Massapequa, Nassau County in the 1920's.Work began in 1958 on the initial limited-access segments, the first one from Phyllis Drive in East Patchogue to EXIT 61 (Suffolk CR 51) in Eastport, and the second one from EXIT 65 (NY 24) in Hampton Bays to the present terminus at Shinnecock Hills. These two segments, which were built on new rights-of-way, were opened in stages between 1960 and 1963. The last expressway section opened in May 1998. (25)

G) Designed to connect the Throgs Neck Bridge with the major east-west arteries of Queens and Long Island, the Clearview Expressway was one of the arterial routes recommended in 1955.The interstate designations over the years were: June 1958 to December 1958: I-78 from Nassau Expressway to Long Island Expressway (I-495); I-495 from Long Island Expressway to Throgs Neck Bridge. The I-495 designation was to connect to I-95 in the Bronx via the Throgs Neck Bridge. At this time, the Long Island Expressway east of the Clearview Expressway was designated NY 24.December 1958 to 1971: I-78 from Nassau Expressway to Throgs Neck Bridge.1971 to present: I-295 from Hillside Avenue (NY 25) to Throgs Neck Bridge. Note that the southern extension of the Clearview Expressway was eliminated. (25)

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Jan. 25, 1959. American Airlines, using Boeing 707s begins transcontinental jet service between Los Angeles and New York City; 4 hours,3 minutes, 53.8 seconds.

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July 26, 1960 : The last trolley buses end service on five Brooklyn routes.

Sources of Information Utilized

Back To "New York City's Travel Experience Table of Contents

Next: Part VIII New York City's Travel Experience 1961-2000
 

                                                                                              

 

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