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Train Departure Concourse, Pennsylvania Station, 1938

Train Departure Concourse, Pennsylvania Station, 1938

There was a time, not all that long ago, when railroads were the dominant form of travel in the United States, and the train stations of major cities reflected their importance. Pennsylvania Station in New York City was the grand-daddy of them all. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead & White in the Beaux-Arts style, Penn Station was the ultimate blend of functionality with monumental grandeur.

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Grand Central Station, 1905

Grand Central Station, 1905

There have been three train stations bearing the name Grand Central in New York City. This photo shows the second structure, Grand Central Station, which only existed in this form for about a decade. Grand Central Station replaced Grand Central Depot in an effort to relieve congestion and improve safety. A catastrophic train collision in 1902 impelled further improvement, and Grand Central Station was torn down in stages and replaced by Grand Central Terminal completely by 1913.

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East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1901

East 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1901

In 1901, the great crossroads of 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway had not yet taken its final form. The Flatiron Building, also known as the Fuller Building, was just beginning construction. In this black and white turn of the century image, the only sign of the iconic skyscraper is the fence around the construction site. The Heinz 57 ad on the side of the Cumberland Hotel was about to be hidden forever.

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