On October 27, 1904, New York City’s first rapid-transit system, the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT), opened with a 14-kilometer (9-mile) route between City Hall, Grand Central Station, Times Square, and 145th Street.

The Great Blizzard of 1888 inspired the subway. This storm helped convince New Yorkers that an underground transportation system would be a good idea. Concrete-lined tubes were dug beneath city streets, and cast-iron tubes were used in tunnels running beneath the cities’ rivers. For a few cents, riders could purchase a token that would allow them to travel anywhere the subway went.

Today, the city-owned New York City Subway is the busiest in the United States, and has more stations (468) than any other subway system in the world. Tokens have been replaced by electronic cards. More than 6,000 subway cars move people around the city in more than a billion individual subway rides each year.

blizzard
Noun

storm with high winds, intense cold, heavy snow, and little rain.

city
Noun

large settlement with a high population density.

concrete
Noun

hard building material made from mixing cement with rock and water.

extensive
Adjective

very large.

route
Noun

path or way.

storm
Noun

severe weather indicating a disturbed state of the atmosphere resulting from uplifted air.

subway
Noun

underground railway; a popular form of public transportation in large urban areas.

token
Noun

material, usually similar to a coin, that may be exchanged for specific goods or services.

transportation
Noun

movement of people or goods from one place to another.

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