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Behind the Scenes at the Subway’s Power Control Center Trains Photos Videos

Throughout the city there are countless nondescript structures that garner little attention from passersby. Hidden within one of them is the Power Control Center of New York City’s subway system, which like many important pieces of infrastructure today tries to keep a lower profile. A venerable hive of activity, the Power Control Center occupies an enormous room with long rows of seafoam green control panels running its length. Clusters of desks are arranged in the middle between the panels, with a perfect sight line to monitor the flashing lights and relayed information. The PCC’s expansive control panels display a schematic...

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A Rotary Converter and the Power Historian History Photos Videos

One of the joys of running this site is getting the chance to meet interesting people. When researching the supposed Nazi sabotage of Grand Central’s sub basement known as M42, I encountered a video on YouTube showing one Robert Lobenstein—identified as the retired General Superintendent of Power Operations at New York City Transit—starting up an old rotary converter. I had seen rotary converters before, the very ones in Grand Central’s M42, in fact. Yet I had never seen one in operation, and the video fascinated me. It was clear that the modern static frequency converters I had encountered on filming...

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Another snowstorm for Metro-North Photos

Things are slowly getting back to normal in the Northeast, which was blanketed in snow over the past few days. Central Park reported just over 15 inches of snow, and some areas of the Bronx were reporting close to 20 inches. Subway service above ground was halted at 2 PM yesterday, and resumed at 5 AM today. Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road shut down operations at 3 PM yesterday, but as of 4 AM this morning were both back online, subject to delays. Amtrak likewise cut service at 3 in between New York and Boston and New York and...

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Finally, Moynihan. Events History Photos

Viewed as one of the most heinous crimes to ever have occurred in American architecture, the demolition of Pennsylvania Station served as a turning point for historic preservation in the United States. With the destruction of McKim, Mead, and White’s Beaux arts masterwork, Penn Station’s underground tracks and modified mezzanines still survived, but only as a shadow of their previous selves. Gone was the light spilling through triumphant glass archways and elegant classically styled columns—a fitting gateway to New York that allowed one to enter “like a god.” Instead, one now “scuttles in like a rat,” navigating the subterranean labyrinth...

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E Pluribus Unum: New York’s New Motto, Coming to a Station Near You Trains Photos

Leaders and high ranking individuals have always exerted their power by influencing the aesthetics around us. Grand Central is famous for its acorn and oak leaf motif, incorporated to please the Vanderbilts who used that symbolism as their family crest. The clock tower built at Waterbury, Connecticut’s Union Station is to this day one of the most iconic buildings in the city, but was only added to the station a year after construction had begun at the behest of the railroad’s president. In New York we have also seen an individual lending his personal touch to some of the state’s...

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First Snow Trains Photos

The New York area experienced its first real snowstorm of the season last night, and the frigid weather was a fabulous time to capture the flakes with a few trains. Enjoy a few photos from Harlem 125th Street this morning, and stay warm!

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