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Where & When: Game 33

Welcome back to another go-round with Where & When. Last time we went out of town to discover the truth, today we come back home (so to speak) to find some more truth. So let’s get our keyboards ready and surf:
Where & When Game 33

I like this picture; I can tell you that not much in this view has changed (really).  I’ll tell you what those changes are though if you tell me where this is (the station and the name of the main street the photo depicts), plus an approximate year. This is another easy one; not to tax you as we continue to discuss the recent additions to the club, the outlook going forward and how freezing cold it is outside for most of us.  How about a large mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream for the first person with both location and approximate date, and a hot cup of Oolong tea for the rest of us who follow up. I am feeling a little better as I recover from a bad cold, so I’ll try to check in once in a while. As I always say, I’m open to suggestions for future challenges and don’t peek at the photo credit for the answer (that’s more for the new readers who might be following us today).  Feel free to discuss and leave your answers in the thread.   And now I take my leave of you good folks, have a good day!

[Photo credit: Subchat.com]


1 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Jan 24, 2014 10:46 am

I think this is one I actually know - end of the subway line; I used to take the bus as a kid from White Plains to this spot, I think. But not quite that long ago - this looks like a mid-20's.

2 BobbyB   ~  Jan 24, 2014 10:53 am

The location is easy (look closely at the picture). Old IRT terminal, circa 1925?

3 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Jan 24, 2014 10:58 am

Owen Street (sign on left) near 241st (sign on building)

4 rbj   ~  Jan 24, 2014 11:12 am

Looks like 241st street from the sign, end of the line for the subway. Lots of Model Ts and not much else, so nineteen teens. Not finding the photo via Google images. Have to refine the search.

5 rbj   ~  Jan 24, 2014 12:43 pm

Just noticed the Owen(?) street sign on the left edge.
Googling "241st street and owen street new york intersection" brings up this wikipedia article:

It's the northernmost terminal of the NY subway, ending in the Wakefield section of the Bronx.

6 RIYank   ~  Jan 24, 2014 12:59 pm

Late to the party.
I think it's not the 'teens. At least some of the cars do seem to be model T, but a couple of them have sloping windshields, which means late 1922 at the earliest.


I can't pin it down better than that.

7 rbj   ~  Jan 24, 2014 1:08 pm

Ah wikipedia article has the tag line of "Railway stations opened in 1920" so it is the 1920s, probably the first half.

Ah, found it: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?112811

August 18 (from the photo itself, page has the 13th) 1924.

8 TheGreenMan   ~  Jan 24, 2014 1:24 pm

Found a recent pick and it looks like Owen Street has become St. Ouen Street. Or it was misspelled back on that street sign in the 1920s. Looks like some of those shops on the left are still there too. Very cool.

9 RIYank   ~  Jan 24, 2014 1:49 pm

[7] Well that's decisive!
Interesting. Of course, it's quite possible that none of the cars in the picture is brand new -- although cars didn't last all that long back in the day.
I wonder if it's possible to narrow it down to 1924 just from the clues in the picture.

10 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 24, 2014 2:49 pm

Man, you guys are good, boy.

11 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 24, 2014 3:37 pm

[7] Good find. I never think about whether the same pic is out there on a different siteunless it's easy to find in the first place; you guys will likely track them down quickly at any rate >;)

[10] I know, right? They do read your works, so no surprise there...

Yep, that's the Wakefield-241st Street Station on White Plains Road in the Bronx, Aug. 18, 1924 (we'll go with the photo since it has the inscription) on the then-Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Company, which has since become the 2 train of the MTA subway system.

The IRT owned all of the elevated and underground subway lines in Manhattan, the Bronx and the Flushing line in Queens. The system became a division of the New York City Transit Authority in 1940, which later became part of the current Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) under the New York City Transit system in 1968. The IRT, BMT and IND operate unofficially as divisions within NYCT.

Fun facts:

- How do you know which trains are or were part of which system? The IRT was distinct from the others because their trains are narrower and numbered, while the BMT and IND are lettered. Other distinctions are detailed at this site.

- The Flushing Line (7 train) was never directly connected to the rest of the IRT system and is underground from the East River entry point to Manhattan and at it's terminal point at Main Street in Flushing. The rest of the entire line is elevated. (Bonus Question!) What other train or trains in the NYC subway system have underground terminal points and mostly elevated or above-ground stops in between?

- When the systems were taken over by the city, the elevated tracks in Manhattan were eventually taken down as the systems were integrated at various points throughout the city, though all the original elevated trains in the outer boroughs remain intact, including the ones built by the Long Island Railroad Company that were taken over by the city. Speaking of which...

- The Metropolitan Commuter Transit Authority (MCTA), as it was originally called in 1965, was chartered by New York State in order to take over the then-bankrupt LIRR. The "C" was dropped later when the agency took over the subways, commuter trains, buses, bridges and tunnels.

- About St. Ouens Street in the Bronx: the spelling of the sign in the picture may actually be wrong; I put in a quick call to the Bronx Historical Society and was informed that the street was part of an estate whose owner had visited a parish in France with the name St. Ouens; sounds like there was a clerical error that was corrected in ensuing years. (I will update this this entry separately and fully when the folks at the library email me to confirm it!)

- All of the buildings in this picture remain intact, and on the the right new buildings had been built since the date of this picture where there is space. Also, the back end of the elevated station facing the camera has been fully enclosed with a wall on the platform level and a mid-platform structure that operates as a break room and storage space, partially hidden by a large billboard that extends down to the mezzanine station entry level which then extends down to the ground by two flights of stairs on both sides of the street. Of course, the facades of most of the buildings are are covered with awnings or other facings, but they are mainly the same buildings as pictured. The building ad to the left of the picture now has a gas station in front of it, the space on the right has an entire plaza of stores including a supermarket (or what I like to call a superbodega since it's smaller than a real supermarket), a few smaller stores and a small car dealership directly across the street from St. Ouen (Owen) Street.

I happen to live approximately a mile to the east in the next town over, so it's either a five minute drive or a 20-30 minute walk to this station for me. Of course, I prefer the 5 train from Dyre Avenue because it runs express more often than the 2 through the Bronx; they're about equidistant from where I live, so it's a matter of eastside vs westside for me. (Er, that's not a fun fact, that's just me saying >;)

So, anyone else have any fun facts? Feel free to post whatever other findings or musings you may have below. Again, I'll update the info on St. Ouen Street and how the spelling got changed. Apparently it's sort of a mystery how it got the name in the first place, but I like what I've heard so far.

Big up to rbj for finding the exact answer, he gets the big mug. Shoutout to GaryfromChevyChase (I've been there during my Howard days in the early 90s, nice place) for his guess by personal recollection and to BobbyB for his close guess on the date, thanks also to RIYank for triangulating the date with visual evidence (and the link and TheGreenMan for introducing the St. Owens/Ouens mystery, I hope to find out about that shortly. You all added a nice little dimension to this entry; enjoy your Oolong!

(PS: A cinnamon stick for anyone who figures out the bonus question from here!)

12 rbj   ~  Jan 24, 2014 3:50 pm

[11] Thanks, 11 outside with more snow on the way, so I need the hot chocolate.

13 RIYank   ~  Jan 24, 2014 5:14 pm

For the bonus: maybe the Canarsie line?

My bonus: this xkcd is so cool. And the mouseover notes that about a third of all North American subway stops is in New York City.

14 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 24, 2014 6:01 pm

[13] For the Canarsie line, nope: Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie, the Brooklyn terminal of the L train, is a grade ("street") level station.

But you do get a stick for the cartoon, especially since it's one I subscribe to. Enjoy!

15 RIYank   ~  Jan 24, 2014 6:11 pm

Oooh, cinnamon.
I was just in the Middle East. Guys were selling cinnamon on the street, big chunks of bark not just puny little sticks. I didn't get any, but I did bring home a couple of fistfuls of vanilla pods, and some frankincense. (And until this trip I didn't really have any idea what frankincense is, besides the historical fact that everyone knows.)

16 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 24, 2014 6:43 pm

[15] The frankincense the street vendors sell here smell pretty good, but probably not as nice as the stuff you got.

For the record, there are no other lines that start and end underground while staying above ground a majority of the time. However, there are two other lines within the contiguous NYC subway system (meaning not including the Staten Island Railway) that bear other unique (and diametrically opposed) distinctions, plus two lines that share another rare distinction. Can you name the lines and what their aspects are?

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