57 Irish workers who were hired from Ireland to help build some of the first tracks for the Pennsylvania Railroad, were buried in mass graves by the rail site. These people were virtually unknown and forgotten until a group of scientists uncovered mysteries that did not quite fit the silence or the known stories of death by cholera.
Railroads are built by sweat and blood. Industrialization was not only about bigger and better opportunities, but were also about the social relations and death that ‘bigger and better’ brings about.
The story of the Irish people in general, along with others in the histories of Europe and in the United States, must be told over and over, to understand all that we have and don’t have.
On PBS on Wednesday May 8, at 10:00 Eastern Standard Time, PBS will air another documentary/movie on this topic.
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The Old Penn Station, which was completed in 1910 in New York City, was the grand masterpiece of train stations, named after Pennsylvania Railroad Company, competing toe-to-toe with the famed New York Central Railroad’s Grand Central Station, another magnificent monument of architectural and technological marvel, that stood for both the imperial power of some of the wealthiest and powerful capitalist magnates who ran these railroad stations from the beginnings of the heyday of American railroad travel, through its demise and loss to the more isolating and privatized way of travel: the automobile industry.
Penn Station began demolition in 1963, replaced by Madison Square Garden and its shopping plaza and transit facility. In the video below, I love the quote about being in the old days, coming into New York City via one of its glorious passenger trains, people felt like gods. But now, we come into New York like rats. The video below is a segment on modernism and its impact on the priorities of being new as better, which is the dominant ideology of that period in the 50s and 60s, that brought Penn Station down. From a wonderful documentary on New York.