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Mapping Local and Commuter Rail Transit in NYC: Commuting at Street Level

This guide covers how to research for maps related to subways and railroads in New York City within the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal's Map Division.

Quick Facts

5th Avenue horse drawn omnibusDefinitions:

Omnibus: horse-drawn carriages traveling along a fixed route. Service started in 1827 and the last omnibus route ended service in 1905.

Streetcars: Horse-drawn carriages on rails. Introduced by the NY and Harlem Railway in 1832, with the last streetcar ending operation in 1917.

Trolleys: Electrified lines that emerged from the horse streetcars. The first electrified line began in 1887 on Jamaica Avenue, with the last trolley service ending in 1957 with the 59th Street Bridge. 

Definitions from The Wheels that Drove New York, pg. 4

Image Source: 5th Avenue horse drawn omnibus. 1890. NYPL Digital Collections Image ID 5192725

Catalog Tips

Online Research Catalog

A Selection of Street-Level Transit Maps at NYPL's Map Division

Image Source: Map of New York City except Richmond borough showing passenger transportation systems, July 1901. Map Div. 14-1296

Additional Recommended Books and Documents at NYPL

To find supplementary books and documents related to the commuting at street level, please conduct the searches listed on this page's "Catalog Tips" with "Cartographic" NOT checkmarked  in either our Online Research Catalog or Digital Collections Portal. See below for a list of recommended materials: