Boston Vs. New York: The Rivalry That Built America's First Subway

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As you wait for the T at the Boylston or Park Street stations, you may not realize that you're waiting on a piece of a history.

No — not the trains themselves, but the tunnels in which they travel, which were a focal point of America's first subway system.

The system's construction was fraught with bribery, publicity and numerous accidents — but was fueled largely by an ongoing rivalry between Boston and New York — a city that was working on building its own subway system.


Doug Most, deputy managing editor for features at The Boston Globe. He's author of "The Race Underground: Boston, New York and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America's First Subway." He tweets at @GlobeDougMost.


The Boston Globe: The Bigger Dig

  • "Green knew the discovery of human remains would stoke the fears people had about going underground to ride a train. During the long debate in Boston about whether to build a subway, one skeptic, after visiting London, said the subway gave him a 'buried alive' feeling."

The New York Times: Books About Builders, Bootleggers And Bosses

  • "Aside from some overlooked plaques in the City Hall subway station and elsewhere, names like Barclay, Hewitt, McDonald, Parsons, Pearson, Sprague, Steinway, even Belmont — much less the Whitney brothers — have been all but forgotten."


This segment aired on February 5, 2014.


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