IRT 59th Street Station
Image #3: (CAUTION: THIS POST CONTAINS SUBWAY HISTORY) Sorry. You knew it had to be in here somewhere. I’ll make it quick and painless. The inscription on this huge building (it takes up a whole city block between 11th and 12th Avenues and between 59th and 60th Streets) reads “Interborough Rapid Transit Company.” New York’s transit was once run by two separate private companies: the IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit Company) and the BMT (The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation.) In the 1940’s, both companies were absorbed by the city’s Board of Transportation, now the MTA. But until then, all the power needed to run the IRT lines was generated in this building using giant steam-powered generators – the largest ever built. Now, the plant is owned and operated by Con Ed, Manhattan’s power utility. It still supplies some train power, but now mostly creates steam for New York City’s vast steam system. If you’d like to know more, The New York Times ran a short piece on the building here.
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