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Happy 100th Birthday, 7 Train! Transit Group Plans Centennial Ride

By Katie Honan | April 21, 2017 8:51am
 The 7 train opened 11 new stations on April 21, 1917.
The 7 train opened 11 new stations on April 21, 1917.
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Queens Chamber of Commerce

One hundred years ago, thousands of residents in what was then a quiet but growing borough celebrated the extension of the 7 train from Grand Central Terminal to Corona.

Business and civic leaders, including the Roosevelt Avenue Transit Association, rode the train, which then had only 11 stations.

Transit advocacy group Access Queens and the New York Transit Museum will replicate the first ride with a celebration at Grand Central Terminal on Friday at 1 p.m.

They'll then ride to the 103rd St. - Corona Plaza station —which was known in 1917 as the Alburtis Avenue station.

The 7 train's extended stations 100 years ago was a major celebration throughout Queens.

Each station — Rawson St., Lowery St., Bliss St., Lincoln Ave., Fisk Ave., Broadway, 25th St., Elmhurst Ave., Junction Ave. and Alburtis Ave. — was decorated "liberally," according to a report on the event. 

A park in Corona hosted a live concert from the Interborough Company Band, which was attended by 10,000 people.

The new stations were opening just as new homes, apartment buildings and businesses were opening in western Queens.

It cost more than $2 million dollars to extend, according to the Queens Chamber of Commerce. 

The Queensboro Corporation was just beginning to develop the garden apartments and homes in Jackson Heights. The business center in Woodside (known then also as Winfield,) was starting to grow. And the one and two-family homes in Corona and Elmhurst were still being built along the side streets off of Roosevelt Avenue.

Back then, the elevated subway then offered unparalleled access to both Manhattan and the rest of the city, which was still less the 20 years old. 

"It was freely admitted by men of experience on the two observation trains yesterday that no such opportunities exist anywhere at the present time within city limits," a reporter wrote in the New York Times. 

It's not clear if the 7 train's inaugural ride had any signal problems.