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Long Island Commuter Train, Long Island City, Queens, 1947

Long Island City, N.Y.
New York State Archives, NYSA_B1598-99_101354
Document Description
A parking lot at Long Island City in Queens, New York City, with an elevated train track in the background, September 2, 1947.
In the picture, what structure is in the distance?
What are the advantages of commuting to work by train?
What are the environmental impacts of taking the commuter train into the city as compared to driving?
Historical Challenges
How did the train companies acquire permission to build tracks across private property in New York State?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Find out the distance from Long Island City to the center of Manhattan. Research the speed of commuter trains and calculate how long it took a person to travel into the city.
Science: After researching aerodynamic designs, create a new design of a train that would be considered aerodynamic, and explain why it is aerodynamic.
English Language Arts: Create a travel brochure advertising a scenic trip of 500 miles along Cornelius Vanderbilt’s railroads in New York. Pick any 500 miles, but promote New York State’s landscape, sites, and natural beauty.
Collicutt, Paul. This Train. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999. ISBN: 0374374937.
Simon, Seymour. Seymour Simon's Book of Trains. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 0060284757, 0060284765.

Historical Context
The need for public transportation increased as New York City and the surrounding areas expanded.   People had been commuting back and forth from Long Island to New York’s metropolitan area by rail since the 1880s on the Long Island Rail Road.  The  Long Island Rail Road was a major contributing factor to the development and economic growth of Long Island.  Today, the Long Island Rail Road is the largest and busiest commuter railroad in the country.  
Essential Question
How does the availibility of transportation affect the economic and cultural aspects of a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of this technology on the local communities.