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Grand Central Stargazing: Secret Signatures on the Ceiling Observations History Photos

In its century-plus of existence, over a billion travelers have traversed the hallowed halls of Grand Central Terminal. But how many of that intrepid number, as they gazed up at the magnificence of the constellations overhead, knew that the ceiling held a secret? I’m not talking about how the constellations are “backward”—doesn’t everybody know that? Nor am I referring to the fact that the ceiling today is not the original fresco from when the Terminal opened its doors. No, I’m talking about the secret signatures that span the mural, encircling stars and hiding inside the appendages of the towering beasts...

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A Parkway, a Station, and a Hotel. White Plains: Part 2 History Photos

In Part I of our history of White Plains, we took a look at the arrival of the New York and Harlem Railroad, and how its vital link to New York City kicked off White Plains’ growth from a sleepy little village into one of Westchester’s notable cities. Along that journey a monumental train station rose and fell, man asserted its dominance over nature, and several swaths of civilization were wiped from the map, all in the name of progress. The transformation of the area around the train station in the early twentieth century was quick, and massive. The railroad’s...

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The Railroad’s Raucous Arrival. White Plains: Part 1 Trains History

Amid loud booms of celebratory artillery fire and the rousing tunes of a brass band, hundreds of onlookers jockeyed for a spot alongside gleaming rails, cheering and popping champagne corks. The crowd’s cries rose to a crescendo as the mighty iron horse cantered round the last curve and roared into full view, steam billowing behind her. The day was Saturday, October 26th, 1844, and at long last—thirteen years for the rails, nearly three hours for the train—the New York and Harlem Railroad had reached White Plains. The new station to which the train had arrived was a simple wooden affair,...

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Sleep Going to Keep Going: Pullman War Ads, Part 1 Advertisements History

When I started researching for the story I posted a few weeks back about how the Nazis didn’t actually plan on attacking a substation at Grand Central during World War II, I amassed quite a lot of information about the railroads during the war. There are many facets to the story – from the gigantic posters that were installed in Grand Central to raise money with war bonds, to the movement of troops and materiel during the war—with railroads carrying 90% of the military’s freight, and 98% of its personnel, trains were an integral operation on the home front. As...

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Santa Claus is coming… Advertisements

If you believe the Pennsylvania Railroad, Santa Claus visits all the good boys and girls while they are asleep tonight, even if they happen to be in a railroad sleeping car. Does that make conductors and trainmen Santa’s helpers? And if you don’t believe the Pennsy, it looks like the Central seems to think that Santa will take a visit to all the overnight trains tonight. So who are we to disagree? Wishing all readers of I Ride The Harlem Line, whoever you are, if you’re still out there despite my lack of posting for the past few years, a...

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Smartcat Sundays: The Puppy Timetable Advertisements History

For almost as long as humans have been walking on this Earth, we have used hats. Whether they be for protection from the elements (with or without cat ears), for symbolic purposes, or simply for fashion, hats still remain an important part of our wardrobe to this day. Some historical figures are even well remembered for their hats, like Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hats, or Abe Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. Today’s little bit of railroad history is an unofficial railroad timetable distributed by a hat salesman in Oneida, New York. The subject has come up on this blog before, where I have...

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