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Travels into transit history

Photo courtesy Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J./Holland Tunnel entrance, New Jersey side, circa 1935.

By Karen Zautyk

I am not embarrassed to admit that I was one of those kids who grew up referring to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey as the “Port of Authority.” As in, “I’ll meet you at the Port of Authority bus terminal.”
I also called the PATH train “the Tubes.” As in, “I’ll meet you at the Tube station at Journal Square.”
This  personal trivia arises thanks to an announcement that the 90-year-old Port Authority has now launched a website whereon the public can view and buy “classic photographs from the agency’s rich history.” I immediately moused on over to it – www.portauthorityarchive.com – and was enchanted.
Okay, the agency’s idea is to market the photos, most of which sell for $19.95 for an 11×14 to $24.95 for a 16×20. (Framed versions available for $45.95-$69.95.)  But it has now also  given the public a fascinating online scrapbook.
For some of us, our childhood gateway to the Land of Oz (Manhattan) was that bus terminal on Eighth Ave. Take the escalator down to the main  floor, go out the glass doors and step into another world, filled with masses of people, all hurrying somewhere, a moving tide of Checker cabs, and a sense of excitement you couldn’t find on this side of the Hudson. My parents took me there so often from the  time I was a tot that the images are engraved in my memory.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

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