East Broadway Subway Station Turns 85

Posted on: January 15th, 2021 at 5:00 am by

The East Broadway subway station wasn’t always a shady dungeon attracting crime. Once upon a time, the transit stop inspired celebrations across the Lower East Side.

It was exactly eighty-five years ago – January 1, 1936 – that the East Broadway subway station debuted to the public. The feat of subterranean engineering, then known as the Rutgers Street Station, was hailed in the local Yiddish press, i.e. The Jewish Daily Forward.

“When the subway opens, for the thousands of people who come here to The Forward building daily for a variety of reasons, it will be easier to get to East Broadway,” the paper said on January 2. “Most importantly it will be easier for union activists and Worker’s Circle members and other communal organizations who have their gatherings in the Forward building to get here in less than 23-35 minutes.”

Photo: The Forward

The above shot featured prominently in that story, showing John Delaney, Chairman of the Board of Transportation, Manhattan Borough President Samuel Levy, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Forward Manager B.C. Vladeck and Forward President, and socialist Judge Jacob Panken.

The introduction of the East Broadway station was seen at the time as a link to the broader city, and a symbol of progress. It would eventually prove a boon for the area economy its own working class agenda.

In current times, the station is synonymous with grift. Crime is the norm, with muggings and swipe swindling commonplace. A few years ago, it ranked twelfth on a list of the top twenty-five most dangerous stations in the system.

However, the station is now receiving some love as part of the repair of the Rutgers Tube, which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

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