1915 Subway Explosion Kills Seven, Injures Scores: 7th Avenue Between 24th and 25th Streets
This photograph taken on September 24, 1915 looking east across Seventh Avenue between 25th and 24th Streets shows the extent of a tragedy that took the lives of seven people and injured more than 100.
At about 7:50 a.m. on September 22, 1915 during the subway excavation for a new line, an explosion followed by a massive street collapse threw 7th Avenue into a scene of pandemonium and carnage. A blast of dynamite caused the temporary roadway of wood planking to give way. A trolley loaded with passengers plunged 30 feet into the abyss created by the cave in. A beer truck minus the driver also fell into the excavation.
The reason more people were not killed was because the street undulated for a few seconds before collapsing which allowed precious time for people on the street to scatter to safety.
The motorman of the northbound trolley, John Mayne said, “The car sank just where I stopped it. I had no stop at Twenty-fourth street and there was no warning there. When I was half way to Twenty-fifth street I saw a flagman and set my brakes. As I set the brakes I felt the earth going from under me. The next thing I knew I was being pulled out of hell.”
Fanny Borie, 18, of Brooklyn was on the trolley, on her way to work when it went down into the hole. “When the car started to sink there were terrible screams, and I think I fainted,” she said. “I remember feeling people tugging at my feet, as I was buried under some timbers. Then I lost consciousness and came to again when I was being carried up a ladder to the street.” Continue reading