On October 27, 1904 New York inaugurated its first underground urban railway. Along its 14.5 kilometre length on the island of Manhattan there were 28 stations. It was built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, the private operator of the original city subway. Running between City Hall in Lower Manhattan, it passed by Grand Central Station and Times Square, ending at Broadway and 145th Street in Harlem. Mayor George McClellan proudly rode the first train, at times manning the controls himself. Service was opened to the public in the early evening.
This was not the first city to get a subway. That was London, in 1863. Only five years after that did New York open its first elevated line, whose limits were put to the test by the Great Blizzard of 1888, when snow halted the train traffic. This sparked keener interest in proposals to build an underground system.