Thanks to this morning’s newsletter (Fast Forward) from the Boston Globe, I learned that today is the 120th anniversary of the launch of the first subway in this country. At 6:00 a.m. on September 1, 1897, one hundred people rode the subway through a tunnel under downtown Boston. I had assumed that the first subway was in New York City, but my research this morning revealed that New York’s first underground commuter line did not operate until October 27, 1904. Almost thirty-six years earlier, the city’s first elevated line opened. New York’s rapid transit system is the largest in the western world, butsystems in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Guangzhou, and Moscow eclipsed its ridership. The New York system, though, is the largest in terms of the number of stations (472). On September 23, 2014, more than 6.1 million people rode the New York subway system,
But today’s celebration is about Boston’s innovation, not New York’s, nor the other systems with greater ridership. Have I ever mentioned I am easily distracted, starting my writing with the intent to write about one subject, but drifting off into other areas almost without realizing it? Maybe I should explore what I’ve written to determine whether I’ve mentioned that before. But not yet. Not now.
There’s much about Boston I find appealing. Even before I learned that it set the pace for public transportation in the United States, I liked Boston. I like the in-your-face honesty that characterizes the city. I like its rough-and-tumble personage. I like Santarpio’s Pizza. I like the JFK Library. I appreciate that Boston is largely a very progressive Democratic stronghold, a place where the obligations of society are honored and practiced. Obviously, not all people in Boston are progressive Democrats, but the city votes the way I wish the country at large would vote. Sure, Boston has its share of problems, but it leans left, the way I like a city to lean.
I like the fact that the Boston Globe (and other outlets, I’m sure) reminded the people of the City of Boston that yesterday at 5:00 p.m. was the deadline to take items to Boston City Hall for people stranded in Texas by Hurricane Harvey. The collection effort solicited baby formula, toiletries, non-perishable food, blankets, new clothes, and diapers. Additional collection centers were established throughout the city. The items are to be packed up and shipped to Texas today, September 1.
Congratulations to Boston the 120th anniversary of it subway system. And for being the city it is. I’d like to visit again. I really would.