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Interpreting the Evidence

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

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Postwar United States (1945 - 1970)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Transportation

  • Primary Source Types:

    Photograph

  • Regions:

    Long Island
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Long Island Commuter Train, Long Island City, Queens, 1947 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

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.
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.
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.