Last Halloween I posted a ghastly warning about the abandoned Rochester subway tunnel. That warning was sent to us by a reader who claimed he knew people who once lived and died in the tunnel, and that he now feels a strong “spiritual pressure” whenever he returns there.
Jeffrey’s not the only one who feels these strange vibes from the subway tunnel. RochesterSubway.com often receives stories like these from people who claim to have been followed, or chased, out of the defunct subway. Though rarely do we get to see physical evidence of the ghoulish bouncer.
Last week Aaron Killeen sent in this mysterious photo (shown below) and gave a spine-tingling account of a night inside the Rochester subway, which he says he and his friends will not soon forget…
I’ve had this postcard in my collection for a few years now and it’s one of my favorites for a couple reasons. It’s late 1920’s (or early 30’s) and depicts the brand new (at the time) Broad Street and Rochester subway tunnel. The Rundel Library is not shown where it normally would be (to the right of Broad Street) because it hasn’t been built yet. But I also love this card because of the handwritten message on the back. It’s always been very mysterious to me — because it’s in German!
Rich Rolwing, a RochesterSubway.com reader, recently emailed me and very excitedly offered to translate the message. And so the mystery has finally been solved! Here it is, as written in 1938 from Karl (presumably visiting Rochester from Chicago)…
Thank you for your letter and also that letter from Foley. Noch immer nichts gehoert f.P. Vielleicht heute oder morgen. Lass dir dann gleich wissen. Waren gestern beim einen Park picnicen. Paul hat jetzt Vacation diese und naechste Woche. hat immer noch Halsweh. sonst alles schoen auch Beer.
Did you know when Santa Claus is in a pinch to get toys delivered to all the good little boys and girls on time he jumps on the Rochester Subway? No, of course not—that’s stupid. The Subway closed over 50 years ago.
But, when his crafty elves are looking for gift ideas they check the RochesterSubway.com gift shop. That part is true!
Here are a few nifty ideas shared with me by Rochester Subway fans last year…
Two weeks ago the World Canals Conference took Rochester by storm and offered the public a glimpse inside the Broad Street Aqueduct Bridge and abandoned subway tunnel. Thousands attended and many tour-goers shared their great photos on our Facebook page . Did you miss all the fun? Well I’ve got good news for you. This Saturday, October 9th, you’ll have another chance to explore Rochester’s historic underbelly…
Word of our Rochester Subway Facebook photo contest has gotten out. At least 20 photos have been uploaded to our Facebook wall since Sunday night and the votes/Likes are piling up. The photo with the most “Likes” by midnight Friday will win a Rochester Subway Poster modern or old-style. All of these photos are outstanding—only one will be crowned. So if you haven’t voted for one (or all of them) yet… hop on over to the RocSubway Facebook page and give that little “Like” button a workout. Or upload your own photo. Here’s a look at the front runners…
I’m raising the stakes on Sunday’s Subway/Aqueduct Tour. Bring your camera with you on the tour, upload your best photo to the RocSubway Facebook page, and campaign for the most votes. You could WIN a Free Rochester Subway map…
Jim Hall, age 62, of Farmington NY, recently stumbled upon RochesterSubway.com and was immediately taken for a ride down memory lane. So much so that he decided to share with us a few of his fondest memories of the Rochester Subway—his final ride on the very last day of service, and of his grandfather who was a streetcar conductor during the Great Blizzard of 1900! Jim says he and his two older sisters were brought up with a healthy fear of the subway because he was told of a tragic story where a ‘boy lost both legs’ being a bit too close to the tracks. As Jim points out, “it seems strange these days that memories stick with you.” But they certainly do. And the fun part is, we never know which ones will stand out in our mind a half century from now. Here’s Jim’s subway story…
I’ve never shared this with anyone before… but I have a disorder. I’m an excessive wallpaper changer. I’m in therapy (and doing a little self-medicating) but still, I have a hard time keeping one background graphic on my computer desktop for more than a day or two (at most). Maybe I have ADHD? Or maybe I just need a life. I CAN’T HELP IT! I just get bored staring at the same image for too long. I tear through so many wallpapers I’ve had to start making my own…
Service on the Rochester Industrial and Rapid Transit Railway (the “subway”) ended. According to several accounts, the public came out in force to bid farewell to the Rochester subway and an extra car had to be added to handle the crowds. Fifty members of the Metropolitan New York Railway Association held a chartered fantrip, and people crowded platforms and overhead bridges all along the subway route to get their last pictures…
Back in January I stumbled upon a Flickr photo collection full of urban exploration photos from all around the Great Lakes and several “rust belt” cities… with several shots from Rochester and the abandoned subway tunnel. Shot after shot revealed some pretty unique views of Rochester’s underground world plus other amazing abandoned structures. As it happens, the owner of these wonderfully gritty photo streams is Chris Luckhardt, organizer of the Toronto Exploration Society. Chris is also the creative force behind Motionblur Studios —a low budget, high quality studio located west of Toronto.
Originally from Stratford, Ontario, Chris Luckhardt’s creative exploration has driven him from New Foundland to Pheonix in search of forgotten places—strangely spiritual, places we’re not ‘supposed’ to go. I contacted Chris to find out a little more about these photos and what enticed him to visit the bowels of downtown Rochester…
ROCHESTERSUBWAY.COM: Hi Chris, I noticed you have a couple of nice shots of the abandoned Rochester Subway. How often do you visit the subway tunnel? Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your photos?
CHRIS: Sure, thanks for the feedback! I’m the organizer for the Toronto Exploration Society . The group, founded in February 2005, specializes in urban exploration (mostly around the Great Lakes region) and photo walks (mostly in Toronto). I’m currently west of Toronto in Cambridge, Ontario. Rochester was the first US city I visited strictly for urban exploration. I have lots of photos and video from inside the [Rochester] subway. I’ve been down there 5 times in the past 4 years, the last time being a couple of months ago. I also have lots of SD and HD video, but I haven’t processed anything yet.
Today’s Easter Sunday edition of the Democrat and Chronicle featured fairly extensive coverage of the Broad Street Improvement Project and future plans for the subway tunnel. Three articles and a short video dominated the print and online versions of the Local section and gave RochesterSubway.com and ReconnectRochester.org some much appreciated press. The story below is from the D&C and includes comments from myself (Mike Governale of RochesterSubway.com) and Tom Grasso, who’s canal rewatering plan will likely wash away any chance of ever using the old subway tunnel as a rail corridor again… (more…)
A few months ago two of my readers (I’ll call them Tim and Jeff) contacted me to find out if RochesterSubway.com gave tours of the abandoned subway tunnel. I explained that while I wasn’t in the business of giving tours, I would be happy to go down there with them when the weather warmed up. Tim and Jeff were both on board and I soon posted an “event” on the RochesterSubway.com Facebook page to invite others to join us—cause “safety in numbers” is my credo. Anyway, I figured I’d get 3-6 people to come along and it’d be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Soon enough that little Facebook event had attracted 43 Yes’s and 55 “Maybe’s”. Oh shit!
It’s been widely reported that RochesterSubway.com is spending millions on a new Super Bowl TV spot this year featuring rapper and hip hop megastar 50 Cent. We’re not going to rain on the parade—maybe the ad will air during the Super Bowl, maybe it won’t. You’ll have to watch the game to find out. But you won’t have to wait to see it. Watch the spot… then read the rest of this post to find out how we got 50 to star in our Rochester Subway production…
Let me just preface this. Those of you who follow RochesterSubway.com know I am not trying to bring back the Subway—although if Mayor Duffy announced its re-opening tomorrow I’d promptly nominate him to be crowned King of Rochester. My mission is plainly stated at the bottom of every page on this site. I support any initiative that will improve the quality of life for all Rochesterians. A bike lane here or there. Perhaps a few good grocery stores downtown, etc. etc. My goal is to get Rochester thinking about the possibilities and to spark public dialogue.
Most of the feedback I get from my readers is very positive and I’ve had a lot of great ideas thrown my way. But for every 20 people I hear from, there’s usually one person who’s… well… a real visionary. This month’s award goes to Christine B. from Rochester. In fact, I may have to name the award after her. Christine makes the assumption that I am out to garnish her paycheck and use it to bring back the Rochester Subway. And oh boy is she P.O.’d!
A word of caution before you read her monologue… if you’re a Kodak employee, a “liberal”, unemployed, gay, or if you are homeless, some of Christine’s ideas may offend you. But if you read between the lines, I’m sure you’ll see where she’s going with this line of thought. Oh, and PLEASE share your opinions in the comments. I know Christine will appreciate your feedback…
If you and the kiddies find yourselves moping around the house this winter watching the lint in your bellybuttons pile up, don’t blame the good people at the New York Museum of Transportation! That’s because NYMT is holding “Bring Your Own Train Sundays” every Sunday now through April 25. Visitors who bring there own model trains can take over the throttles under the supervision of museum volunteers. Visitors are also welcome to become a subway motorman for a day on the museum’s N-scale model of the Rochester Subway.
Yet another reason to bring back the Rochester Subway… We’re missing out on No Pants Day! Hundreds of New Yorkers stripped down to their skivvies on Sunday for the ninth annual No Pants Subway Ride. The event, organized by a Guerilla group called Improv Everywhere, has grown from 7 or 8 people riding the NY Subway in 2002 to over 3,000 people taking part in 44 cities and 16 countries around the world.
BECKY BOHRER (AP) NEW ORLEANS — The federal government is making available $280 million for street cars and other public transportation projects aimed at creating jobs and more walkable, environmentally friendly communities.
(Will Rochester see a dime?)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement Tuesday at a streetcar barn in New Orleans. The city, which has been trying to overhaul its public transit system since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was LaHood’s first stop on a listening tour on federal transportation policy.
The last transportation spending bill expired in September. While President Barack Obama’s administration has sought a reprieve into 2011, given the federal stimulus package that passed earlier this year and was aimed largely at public works projects, Congress hasn’t agreed to an extension past mid-December.
LaHood said there’s a “pent up demand” for infrastructure work around the country… (more…)
Recently we acquired this postcard (shown above) of the Rochester subway entrance at Court Street. And while I was reading up on the history of Rochester and the Erie Canal, I came across some pretty neat photos of downtown, the old canal, and later the construction of the Rochester Subway. These images say a thousand words so I’ll just start the slide show with this incredible panorama of Rochester from 1906…
Our recent article about the City’s initiative to fill the abandoned subway tunnel drew many interesting comments from our readers. I wanted to highlight one of those comments from Patrick Eagan—a native Rochesterian who has since relocated to south Florida (RochesterSubway.com receives almost as many emails from people now living outside Rochester as we get from current residents). When Patrick was a kid he used to play softball with the Kodak Park Athletic Association. And when you’re a kid what could go better with a game of softball than a ride on the Rochester Subway?
Patrick agreed to let us post his subway story here—but do check out his great blog and original post.
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.