Intra-Urban Mass Transit in and under New York
Richard Dennis and Sam Merrill co-convene sessions at February AAG meeting
In New York
Professor Richard Dennis and Sam Merrill, along with Dr Carlos Lopez-Galviz of Royal Holloway, organised and contributed to five sessions at the February Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in New York. They involved 22 speakers from across the world and focussed on the cultural and historical geographies of intra-urban mass transit.
Speakers from Geography, Planning, Architectural, Environmental and Social History, Film Studies, Transport and Technology Studies discussed urban public transport from the 19th century to the present day (and beyond) in cities in Britain, USA, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, South Korea and Turkey.
The meetings were designed to offer a platform for discussion ahead of a planned special edition of the London Journal, edited by Richard, Sam and Carlos, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the London Metropolitan Railway in 2013.
Under New York
The three convenors were also invited by Stephen Berrang, the Director of Capital Program Management for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to travel 120 feet below the city’s streets and visit the Long Island Rail Road East Side Access Project currently being undertaken deep beneath Grand Central Station.
The project, due for completion in 2018, will connect Grand Central Terminal with Sunnyside, Queens via a new tunnel being dug beneath Park Avenue, joining with the lower levels of the existing 63rd Street tunnel under East River.
London’s Crossrail may be longer but is basically a wormhole under central London. The New York excavations, carving out a 65 feet high cavern sufficient for a new double-deck underground station for the Long Island Railroad, prove what we’ve always suspected; that Manhattan is basically hollow and all those skyscrapers are built on nothing but hot air!