Anyone who has ever visited New York or one of her 5 Burroughs is familiar with elevated trains. Lady (Ethel Gwendoline [Moffatt]) Vincent wrote a book about her Forty Thousand Miles Over Land and Water which included a visit to New York. This elevated train drawing is one of the images from her book about her visit to our country. Lady Vincent did not identify an illustrator for her travelogue but the publication date of 1886 puts this work securely in the public domain.
In 1886, it would appear transportation around New York was quite expensive. Cabs were charging one dollar a mile or a $1.50 per hour. A mighty princely sum for that time. On the other hand, the “elevated” could be ridden for ten cents. Sunday evenings, the fare was reduced to 5 cents.
Lady Vincent questioned how such things are built, considering that there must have been damage to the property where it was constructed. She seemed a bit surprised that proximity to the elevated increased property values rather than decreased them…spoken by a lady used to having easy access to transportation. Though I certainly understand her logic – the trains were noisy and back then were most likely coal burning. Probably not a good combination for sleeping or even conversing. Though, it suddenly provided area residents with a greate freedom of movement than they had before the construction of the trains.
So much nostalgia from a simple black and white elevated train drawing.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.