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From a Nickel to a Token The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA
Andrew J. Sparberg
Fordham Univ Press
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2014-10-10 00:00:00
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Untitled Document

From a Nickel to a Token

The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA

By Andrew J. Sparberg.

Cloth with dust jacket, 6x9", 400 Pages, 6 color, 150 b/w Illustrations. 2014.

"The twenty-eight years between 1940 and 1968 were a very tumultuous but defining span for the New York City transit system.

"Events that took place reflected what was going on with the nation at the time, including labor disputes, fare increases, and a bit of prescient history:

  • a Harlem residents bus boycott to force the Fifth Avenue Coach Company to hire black men as bus drivers and mechanics. This effort was successful, and this was more than twenty years before the civil rights protests.
  • The three separate subway lines (BMT, IND, and IRT), and the majority of far-flung bus and trolley systems were merged into one system run by the city.
  • To the chagrin of straphangers, the fare was increased from a nickel to a dime and then to fifteen and twenty cents, requiring a token.
  • Manhattan's Second, Third, and Ninth Avenue elevated lines were torn down, along with three elevated routes in Brooklyn. Trolleys completely disappeared by 1957.
  • "Andy Sparberg tells us all this and more in this fascinating micro-history of the New York City transit system during this period. He was granted access to the archives of the New York Transit Museum to unearth long-forgotten articles and photographs.

    "With an insider's knowledge and passion, Sparberg takes readers back to a turbulent time, when New York City was grappling with a massive and unwieldy transit system during national crises such as wars, riots, and financial upheaval. The book brings to life the grit, chaos, and emotional state of the city during this transformative period."

    "There never has been a better, more comprehensive history of New York's elaborate transit system than From a Nickel to a Token. Better still, Andy Sparberg takes us on this comprehensive journey in a most readable fashion. This is not a book merely for transit buffs, it should be a must-read for any New Yorker who wants an inside view of his and her city during a gripping, tumultuous era. Nobody in the transit-writing business can do a better job than Sparberg has done for us."--Stan Fischler, author of The Subway and the City: Celebrating a Century