The Manhattan-Brooklyn Tunnel is an extension of the Rapid Transit Railroad subway system under the East River to the foot of Joralemon street; thence to Fulton street and Flatbush avenue and to the junction of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, where is the station of the Long Island Railroad. Under the river the construction consists of two cast-iron tubes, inside diameter 15 feet 6 inches, length 6,790 feet. Trains pass to Brooklyn through the south tube and return through the north tube. The grade is 3.1 per 100 feet, the descent and ascent of the train being scarcely perceptible.
The tunnel is everywhere below water level, until it rises at a point 700 feet before reaching the Borough Hall station. It passes through rock (two stretches of 2,700 feet and 400 feet) and sand, clay and gravel formations. The lowest point reached by the tunnel is 94 feet below mean high water. Certain portions which pass through sand are given added strength by concrete piles sunk to bedrock, at depths varying from 5 to 75 feet. The motive power is electricity, by the third-rail system. The tunnel will be operated by the constructing company for a term of thirty-five years, when it is to revert to the city, under conditions similar to those which control in the Rapid Transit Railroad contract.
The McAdoo Tunnels under the North River. There are two pairs of these connected by the Jersey City subway, the Morton street tubes to Jersey City, and the Cortlandt street tubes to Montgomery, Jersey City. The Morton street line extends under Greenwich and Christopher streets to Sixth avenue, and under the avenue to the terminal at Thirty-third street and Sixth avenue; thence it will be extended to Forty-second street.
There are stations at Christopher and Greenwich streets, where connection is made with the Ninth Avenue Elevated; Christopher street and Sixth avenue, with connection with the Sixth Avenue Elevated; and at Fourteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-third, Twenty-eighth and Thirty-third streets.
The Cortlandt street tubes have their outlet in the vast Terminal Buildings on Church street, extending from Cortlandt to Fulton.
In Jersey City the center of the system is the terminal station, hewn out of the solid rock, 85 feet below the Pennsylvania Railroad train shed, and reached from the Pennsylvania terminal by elevators. Two branches extend west, rising to the surface, for electric cars from Manhattan to Newark and other New Jersey points; and two other lines run north to the Lackawanna station; and connection is afforded also with the Erie Railroad.
The tunnels are tubes constructed of steel rings overlaid with concrete. In each tunnel there is a separate tube for each track; ventilation is secured by the action of the train, which forces the air ahead of it. The tubes are 15 feet in interior diameter. They lie about 30 feet apart and are from 6o to 90 feet below the surface of the Hudson, the depth of earth between the tunnel and the water ranging from 15 to 40 feet. The deepest part is on the New York side.
The Belmont Tunnels from the foot of East Forty-second street to Long Island City, the two tubes there looping and connecting with surface lines in Queens County.
The Pennsylvania Railroad enters New York through a series of tunnels from New Jersey, passing beneath the Hudson River, Manhattan Island and the East River to Long Island, connecting with the Long Island Railroad. The bed of the Hudson consists of soft mud and clay, of an oozy consistency to a great depth, and unsuited to tunnel work. An entirely new principle, therefore, was adopted. Stone piers were built resting upon the solid rock beneath the river bed. The piers support a bridge enclosed in an 18-foot water-eight steel tube; and carry the railroad track within the tube. The bed of the tracks in mid-stream is too feet below the river bed. There are six of the tubes; they enter Manhattan in pairs, at Thirty-first, Thirty-second and Thirty-third streets, and the tunnel extensions to the East River cross the city under the lines of these streets. Electric locomotives are used.
The terminal station is gigantic in dimensions. It occupies a plot 1,500 feet in length by 520 in width; covering the four blocks bounded by Thirty-first and Thirty-third streets, and Seventh and Ninth avenues —a site acquired for the purpose at a cost of $8,000,000. There are twenty-five tracks and more than two miles of platforms. A bridge extends over the tracks from Thirty-first to Thirty-third streets, with stairways leading down to the tracks. The work of construction took three years.
Staten Island, lying south of New York Bay, five miles distant from Manhattan Island, constitutes the Borough of Richmond in Greater New York. The island has an area of sixty square miles. Its green slopes and wooded hills form a pleasing feature in the harbor views; and the fortified height of Fort Wadsworth, commanding the Narrows, is the first land closely approached by incoming vessels from sea. An excursion to Staten Island by ferryboat from the Battery gives a good opportunity of seeing New York Bay. A conspicuous landmark on the island is the dome of the church of Sailors' Snug Harbor.
The Harbor was founded in 1801 as a home for unfortunate and disabled seamen by Robert Richard Randall, who bequeathed for the purpose his farm in New York. Among the buildings of the Harbor, the church is especially worthy of inspection for the fine marbles of the interior. There is in the grounds a statue of Randall, by St. Gaudens.
The tall chimney seen to the northwest of Staten Island is in Bayonne, N. J., and carries off the fumes of the great copper smelting works there. It is 365 feet high, and is reputed to be the tallest chimney in the world.