Reflections on an Older Time

During my childhood, once I received the authorization for independent wandering of the city, every so often so I'd venture out to Staten Island.  (There was a ferry from Brooklyn as well as from the Battery in Manhattan in those pre-bridge days).  It required separate and additional fares, but it was adventure I always enjoyed. 

Much of the borough was still very rural.  Taking the old "SIRT" -- Staten Island Rapid Transit -- from St. George to Tottenville in cars such as the one shown on the right in this photo was always an exciting and very different experience. 

The line was a division of the B&O then, as it had been since back in the steam era later-1800s.  Electrification came in the mid-1920s.  The railroad heritage added to the special and different nature of the ride.  Much of the route was at ground level, and there were numerous grade crossings.  I have vague memories of conductors walking through the cars to take care of fares, commuter-railroad style.  Near the last stop in Tottenville a little ferry -- long, long gone -- provided service across the Arthur Kill to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. 

This image is from the 1980s, and those old vehicles were long  out of passenger service.

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