I was fascinated to find out that something we take for granted today had to be invented back 100 years ago, didn’t exist at all. Hard to imagine!
After industrial revolution and transportation revolution occurred NYC became a giant port.
76 million tones of freight was moving by the train to the city, over 3 million railroad cars per year. NYC had more manufacturing than Philly, Chicago, Cleveland and St.Louis combined. Half of the country’s foreign commerce moved through this single port.
But NYC was a city of islands, there were also competing companies that didn’t share infrastructure, and also political situation between NY and NJ not always worked and caused enormous expences.
There were 43 piers in Manhattan – enormous waste of space.
Port couldn’t handle all freight. World War I and harbor crisis leaded to security problems in the city.
At one point the port became so congested that all railroad got stuck with freight all the way till Buffalo.
Was made a decision to create Port Authority, that had to make a research and come up with solution.
Port Authority proposed a series of inland stations – sort of post office for freight terminal.
Port Authority proposal for Union Inland Terminal, as a plan to consolidate railroad companies, provide freight storage:
In august 1930 Port Authority purchased 73 buildings on this block between 15 and 16, 8 and 9 ave:
They included movie theatre, hotel, boys club, and beverage plant – G.B. Seely’s Sons Carbonated Beverages.
And construction of new building:
Lincoln tunnel was shut down to bring freight elevators in the city:
And that’s the new building:
Building was an office space too, Port Authority hoped to lease offices in order to cover expenses for the building.
There was a Commerce Hall inside, which was the biggest exhibition hall before Javitz Center.
There was a helicopter station on the roof:
The interesting part, that railroads weren’t really interested in using Inland Terminal, also trucks came and in 40s they were already moving half of all freight. In 70s railroads collapsed and in 1973 building was sold to real estate company.
Rendering 2 point perspective i made with Illustrator and Photoshop, view from 8 ave and 15th street: