"From Suburb to City and Back Again: A Brief History of the NYC Commuter"
(..) Many of New York’s first commuters were summer suburbanites seeking “rural retreats away from the wearying din and unwholesome excitement of city life” (Huguenote Park). Whether searching for a summer country home or a permanent suburban residence, prospective home seekers had many relocation options to speculate.
By 1900, New York City was surrounded by more suburbs than anywhere in the world (Encyclopedia of NYC). Railroad companies and real estate developers encouraged increasing numbers of New Yorkers to move away from the city, boasting less noise and congestion, lower costs, quick and comfortable train rides, more light, fresh air, and healthfulness, and even more births than deaths.
Promoting the possibilities of an idealistic country lifestyle, many suburb guides and advertisements offered would-be commuters practical information for relocating such as details on new real estate developments, communities along train lines, and descriptions of towns and their amenities. Some of these early twentieth century train schedules quite interestingly reveal suburb-to-city travel times that are shorter or very similar to today. Perhaps there is not much hope for commuting times to improve over the next hundred years. (Continua)
The daily evening rush of suburbanites
and travelers for the Cortlandt Street Ferry,
Pennsylvania Railroad, 1899. Image ID: 809471
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