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Building the New York IRT

East & West Viewing Rooms

May 6 - June 18, 2005

Press Release

When the Interborough Rapid Transit company began building the first subway line in New York City in 1900, a group of photographers were commissioned to document all stages of this massive engineering and construction project. These platinum prints, exposed on glass plate negatives, are remarkably subtle and elegant, belying their utilitarian origins. Views range throughout the city, from the streets and buildings above the lines to the elaborate efforts necessary to build a subterranean railway, forming a unique record of turn-of-the-century New York.