Finish Plans for Subway Celebration (1904)

From nycsubway.org

The New York Times · Thursday, October 18th, 1904

Speeches to be Made at City Hall-- Many Invited.
Thousands of Passes, However, Will Be Given for Rides in Daytime--Service Fast Now.

Final preparations for the opening of the subway to the public and plans for the official ceremony attending the event were made at a meeting of the Celebration Committee yesterday afternoon at the rooms of the Rapid Transit Commission.

The formal ceremony to mark the opening will be simple and dignified, in accordance with the wishes of the Mayor and Controller, and will take place in the Aldermanic Chamber, in the City Hall, at 1 o'clock on the afternoon of Oct. 27. Admission will be by invitation, and approximately 500 invitations will be issued. They will be sent to President Roosevelt and his Cabinet, Gov. Odell, the members of the Legislature from Greater New York, all the officers of the City Government, the Presidents of large commercial associations and of all railroads terminating in this city, the heads of all educational institutions in the city, and the heads of churches of various denominations.

Mayor McClellan will preside at the opening ceremony, and will make the speech formally declaring the subway, which will be known as the Rapid Transit Railway, ready for the public. Addresses will also be made by President Fornes, on behalf of the Aldermen, and President Orr for the Rapid Transit Commission. Contractor McDonald and August Belmont, President of the Interborough system, will be present, and it is expected that they will also speak.

Although the new road will be formally opened at 1 P. M. on Oct. 27, it will not be open to the general public until 12 o'clock on that night. The decision to defer the actual opening until midnight was the result of a fear on the part of the commission and the Interborough managers that an unmanageable crush might result if the public at large were admitted early in the day.

This arrangement will not, however, prevent thousands of people from riding on the underground road on Oct. 27, as the Interborough Company intends to issue a large number of free passes to men of prominence which will entitle them to board subway trains at any of the stations along the line on that day. These permits will be distributed among the heads of the municipal departments and well-known men throughout the city. The subway trains will be run on schedule time during the opening day, and those who receive passes will be able to judge for themselves as to the character of the new service.

The section of the subway which the Mayor will declare open will be that from the City Hall to West One Hundred and Forty-fifth Street. The east side section will, it is expected, be ready in a few weeks.

President Orr of the Rapid Transit Board said, the committee would probably request the Mayor to issue a proclamation to the effect that on the hour set for the opening ceremonies the public might concur in the celebration by the blowing of whistles and the ringing of bells.

For the first time yesterday a regular double schedule for both express and local trains was put in operation in the subway. The express trains were dispatched on a headway of six minutes, or a greater headway by two minutes than that allowed express trains on the elevated system in the rush hours. One train required six minutes to reach Fourteenth Street from the Brooklyn Bridge and four minutes more to reach Forty-second Street, the motorman having been required to slow down twice because of workmen on the track. The round trip between the bridge and Forty-second Street took eighteen minutes. Local trains ran on a three-minute headway, the time consumed between the City Hall station and One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Street being thirty-nine minutes. This time, it is said, will be materially shortened.

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