Conquering Gotham : a Gilded Age epic : the construction of Penn Station and its tunnels

by Jonnes, Jill, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 6 copies
Available (5)
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Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 385.3 JO
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  385.3 JO
Brentwood Library Nonfiction 385.314 Jonnes
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  385.314 Jonnes
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction TF302.N7 J66 2007
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  TF302.N7 J66 2007
Monroeville Public Library Non-fiction 385.314 J
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Non-fiction
Call Number  385.314 J
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 385.314 J73
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  385.314 J73
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Shaler North Hills Library Non-Fiction CHECKED OUT
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
The epic story of the struggle to connect New York City to the rest of the nation

The demolition of Penn Station in 1963 destroyed not just a soaring neoclassical edifice, but also a building that commemorated one of the last century’s great engineering feats—the construction of railroad tunnels into New York City. Now, in this gripping narrative, Jill Jonnes tells this fascinating story—a high-stakes drama that pitted the money and will of the nation’s mightiest railroad against the corruption of Tammany Hall, the unruly forces of nature, and the machinations of labor agitators. In 1901, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Alexander Cassatt, determined that it was technically feasible to build a system of tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey and Long Island. Confronted by payoff-hungry politicians, brutal underground working conditions, and disastrous blowouts and explosions, it would take him nearly a decade to make Penn Station and its tunnels a reality. Set against the bustling backdrop of Gilded Age New York, Conquering Gotham will enthrall fans of David McCullough’s The Great Bridge and Ron Chernow’s Titan .

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Commemorated in many a rueful history book after barbarians demolished it in the 1960s, New York City's Pennsylvania Station was the visible manifestation of a titanic subterranean project. Its sweeping story, involving engineering challenges, an inflexibly honest corporation leader, flexibly corrupt politicians, and street-level sociology, comes together marvelously in Jonnes' admiring history of the undertaking. It arose from the Pennsylvania Railroad's determination to run its trains directly into Manhattan; in the 1890s, Penn passengers had to alight in New Jersey and board ferries, a scene Jonnes evokes with an excerpt of Penn president Alexander Cassatt's experience of the inconvenience. The main impetus to the enterprise, Cassatt, operating in an era of lightly regulated capitalism, wielded substantial power, and his decisions structure Jonnes' narrative. Cassatt's siting of the station in the city's notorious den of iniquity, the Tenderloin, introduces the outstretched palms of Tammany Hall, while his taste for the classical aesthetic introduces Charles McKim's design of the station. Equally interesting on the technical hazards of the tunnel work, Jonnes has produced an exemplary construction epic. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Modern Manhattan is a miracle in many ways, but all of its imports, commuters included, must traverse at least one river to get there. In 1900, the New York Central, owned by the Vanderbilts, already gave Manhattan a northern connection over the narrow Harlem River. A southern connection over the mile-wide Hudson would be a whole different story. Alexander Cassatt, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was the visionary on the project. But how to do it? A bridge plan fell through due to expense; a tunnel would lack the oxygen needed for steam engines. The breakthrough lay in the cutting-edge electrified locomotives developed in Paris. Historian Jonnes (Empires of Light), demonstrating impressive immersion in the Gilded Age, ably spins the tale, which bears some similarities to The Devil in the White City. This is a vivid story of hardball Tammany Hall maneuvering and mind-boggling engineering. Once construction began, the two-track narrative settles on the daunting construction of the tunnels and Charles McKim's much-admired design of the terminus at Pennsylvania Station, prized by New Yorkers only after its ill-considered demise in 1963. Jonnes can claim an important addition to the popular literature of how New York became the archetype of a great American metropolis. (Apr. 23) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Pennsylvania Station (New York, N.Y.) -- History -- 20th century.
Tunneling -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
Railroad stations -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
Historic buildings -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher New York :Viking,2007
Language English
Description xiv, 368 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [319]-354) and index.
ISBN 0670031585
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