(Marc A. Hermann / MTA)

New York City Transit President Richard Davey today celebrated the 118th anniversary of the NYC subway by visiting subway stations and meeting with riders and employees at 161 St-Yankee Stadium station in the Bronx, Court Square station in Queens and the 72 St-2 Av station in Manhattan. Davey was joined by New York Transit Museum Director Concetta Bencivenga at 72 St. 

“The subway system is an engineering marvel that has come a long way since 1904, and there’s still a long way to go,” Davey said. “Our team at New York City Transit is working every day to make the system faster, cleaner and safer for the next 118 years.” 

“118 years ago today, New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the very first subway with great fanfare and the City was transformed,” Bencivenga said. “That transformation has continued for more than one hundred years, from the creation of Queens in the last century to the extension of the Second Avenue Subway in this one.  New York and its iconic subway have been inextricably linked since October 27, 1904.” 

New York’s first underground rapid transit network, known as the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway, opened on Oct. 27, 1904, with 28 stations along a 9.1-mile line. The IRT expanded to the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens and was eventually joined by two competing companies, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the city-owned Independent Subway (IND).  

In 1940, these companies were unified and today they comprise the current New York City subway system which is made up of 25 routes, 472 stations, 800 track miles and a fleet of over 6,000 passenger cars. Laid end to end, NYC Transit train tracks would stretch from New York City to Chicago. 

Pre-pandemic, the subway was carrying an average of 5.5 million riders each weekday. Ridership currently hovers between 50 and 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels. The subway set a pandemic-era weekend ridership record on Saturday, Oct. 8, carrying 2,396,000 riders, constituting 73.4 percent of pre-pandemic levels, topping the previous pandemic weekend ridership record of 2,388,000 set two weeks prior. 

Celebrate the Subway Anniversary with the New York Transit Museum 

The New York Transit Museum celebrates the 118th anniversary of New York City’s subway by exploring the past and looking towards the future on Oct. 27. To celebrate, the Transit Museum is launching a new interactive collections database featuring more than 14,000 images and objects from the Museum’s Collections, hosting an online virtual tour of the famous decommissioned Old City Hall station, and showcasing historic photos on view at all stations along the city’s first subway line.  

The new online collections database is available at nytransitmuseum.org/onlinecollections

(Marc A. Hermann / MTA)