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1936_07_11--010_SP Underground Empire

1111/ 10 THE SATURDAY EVENING POST COURTESY OP SHE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE, PHILADELPHIA. PHOTO. BY JOSEPH JANNEY STEINMETZ .01 Model of the Traffic Intersection at Herald Square, Supposedly the Most Complicated in the World July 11,1936 13 XELTON MAC Kg YZ SEVERAL years ago the ingenious Mr. Richard Connell wrote a short story about a young man who, on a wager, spent a week in New York, lived a normal life, transacted business, moved freely from one locality to another, consummated a romance, and finally left town again—all without ever seeing the sun or braving the tricky and dangerous drafts of the metropolitan out-of-doors. Undoubtedly, to the citizens of Wyoming and Texas, Mr. Connell's merry tale had the quality of implausible legend, but to the thousands of sun dodgers in New York itself the adventure was hardly fantastic at all. It could have happened; perhaps it did happen. And if it didn't, it may. A Baedeker for such weatherproof travel would be easy enough to compile. In the first place, all trains enter Manhattan by underground, and the terminals are equipped with many and varied below-level shops. Shoes, shirts and sealing wax, ham sandwiches, drugs and dress suits may be had for the asking. An expedition could be outfitted without ever climbing to the street. Board and lodging is no problem. Three luxurious hotels, as well as several famous skyscraper office buildings, are connected with the Grand Central Station by a network of cool and lighted underground passages; tunnels from the Pennsylvania Station carry the traveler into two other equally large hotels. Subways radiate in every direction from the terminals; in a few minutes they will take the visitor directly into the basements of four or five busy department stores, or into the bowels of any of a half dozen of the greatest office buildings in the financial district. The possibilities of subterranean adventuring are too many for full exploration. Dining and dancing are available recreations, there is a motion-picture theater which may be entered directly from the subway, a marriage license may be had at the Municipal Building, almost any kind of business transacted— all without ever seeing the sun. A proper ending for the day would be a subway ride under the East River to a Brooklyn hotel where the tired pilgrim may swim in the biggest indoor pool in the world. The fact is that the towers of New York, so well known throughout the world, are only half its wonders. More mysterious and complex, and ignored by the public at large, is its vast underground empire. The roots of the metropolis do not go down so far as its towers go up, but the life of the town depends on them. Forty,five Seconds From Broadway AWAY from the light, down in the earth, are the veins and the arteries and nerve centers that feed the town and make it animate. These arteries carry the light that illuminates Broadway, the current that runs the factories, the gas that cooks the meals, the steam that heats the buildings, the water that makes life possible. The beauty of New York's sky line is only skin deep; the vital organs are hidden away. It is only the magic of engineering that permits New York to exist at all. The hub of the city is the borough and island of Manhattan, two miles wide at its widest and thirteen miles long. Some 1,800,000 people make their homes there, but the daytime population is tremendously larger. Bounded by great rivers and the bay, Manhattan could not spread, so it grew up in the air and down into the ground. It is, in reality, a long narrow rock covered with a faint dusting of soil upon which people have crowded themselves together like seals on a headland. The very dimensions of this odd island are a guarantee of congestion. The truth is that three or four million people can live together nowhere in comfort, but in Manhattan they would now be pushing their brothers into the bay if engineering and ingenuity had not come to the rescue. Concentration of traffic is so great that it is only by virtue of three separate levels of transit—elevated railroad, surface car or bus, and subway—that anyone gets anywhere at all. JOSEPH JAANEY STEINMETZ Successful Shopping Expeditions Can be Carried On Underground COURTESY CONSOLIDATED ED/SON CONIP %NY OF N. Y. A Wild sot Gas Mains and Other Pipes Lies Beneath the Sidewalks of New York JOSEPH J ,NNEY Entertainment Also Beckons to Those Below - the Streets. ..e Subterranean Theater Entrance


1936_07_11--010_SP Underground Empire
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