And nearly the minute these subways opened, they exploded with people, and crowding.
"We can reach many quarters of the city, and we can make a lot of money doing it… And let's bring these two companies in, and have them compete with one another.
"The city of the five boroughs—or, at least, the four boroughs—gets connected socially and economically the way the consolidation of the city in 1898 had done it politically." Finalized by the purchase of BMT in 1940, the city would eventually acquire the subway system, fusing the two private companies' networks into one, overarching web of trains.
The desire for the public sector to think and build big with mass transit died after the New Deal.
"It's interesting: a lot of the coverage in the New York Times has been, 'Well, maybe we did make a mistake by building the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 train extension, and the East River Access, and maybe we should've put more money in maintaining the signals."