If you were standing on 125th Street east of Broadway on October 27th,1904, what momentous event would you--and the crowd surrounding you--have witnessed?
Answer after the jump.
The answer from Clifton Hood, author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York:
"New York City went 'subway mad' over the IRT's inauguration. For the preceding few weeks, hundreds of New Yorkers had held 'subway parties' to celebrate the big event. On October 27 courthouses, office buildings, shops and private homes were decked out with flags and bunting just as on the Fourth of July; church bells, guns, sirens, and horns resounded all day long. Thousands of people began to gather around city hall early in the morning to see the dedication ceremony that would be held upstairs in the aldermanic chamber. Thousands more queued up at the kiosks, waiting for their first subway line.
"The only place where the official train ran in full public view was on the viaduct over Manhattan Valley, from 122nd to 135th streets. A huge crowd of spectators went there for a look, blanketing rooftops, vacant lots, street corners, and fire escapes for blocks around. When the special emerged from the tunnel and started across the trestle, these onlookers began to cheer. The train slowed down and blew its whistle in response; sirens from local factories and from ships on the Hudson River let loose, too. The noise continued until the train reentered the tunnel and disappeared from sight....
"Finally, at 7:00 P.M., the IRT opened its doors to the public. Men and women who had been waiting all afternoon for this moment streamed down the stairways and onto the cars. A new era had begun in the history of New York."