Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The first recording dealing with the New York Subway. Recorded on the Harvard Label in 1904

The New York Subway was the wonder of the age. When it first opened in 1904 it was looked on with wonder and delight. For many they would never get onto the New York subway. It would be in the field of imagination.

This recording made circa 1904 is called " Reuben Haskin's trip through the New York Subway." It was made in a studio in NYC and of course is a simple recording as they were back then. I look at this and wonder if indeed it was recorded by the Columbia Phonograph Company and then put on the secondary Harvard label.

It sounds as though the recording artist is Len Spencer (1869-1914).. But I am not sure. It could very well have been recorded by Columbia, as Columbia made records that would be sold to a large number of companies. Harvard was no exception, but I am not totally sure if they made this recording.

The subway was an area where you could not only travel, but also go shopping, have a drink or two, or even window shop in certain areas. On this recording they drink a toast to the subway as they ride along. I am not sure you could do that in 1904, but it was indeed another world down there.
Now a days, it is hard to even imagine what the subway was like in that first decade of the 20th century. But it was very different from how it is today. In its first days it seemed to become a social event to take the subway. Today it is a harsh reality. Still as I walk and look around the subway I am always looking for the parts of the subway of a century ago.

So this recording was the first I can find that is about and traveling on the New York Subway.

The first recording about the subway... 1904.