New York and Harlem Rail Road Co. Issued to Daniel Drew - Railway Stock CertificateInv# AG1579
Stock issued to but not signed by Daniel Drew. (1797-1879) Capitalist and Speculator. Drew was poorly educated. His father died when Daniel was fifteen years old, and Drew enlisted and drilled but, because he enlisted too late, never fought in the War of 1812. After the war, he started a successful cattle-driving business. In 1834, he entered the steamship business, competing unsuccessfully with Cornelius Vanderbilt but running numerous profitable lines outside of New York. He founded the brokerage firm of Drew, Robinson & Company in 1844, which dissolved a decade later with the deaths of his partners. He continued to work in the brokerage business as an independent operator. Drew is popularly credited with introducing the term "watered stock" to the New York financial district, to describe company shares whose price has been temporarily manipulated upward; the term supposedly came from his time in the cattle business, when he would have his cattle drink water before selling them, to temporarily increase their weight. In 1864, Drew once again struggled with Vanderbilt, speculating on the stock of the Harlem Railroad. Drew was selling the stock short, but Vanderbilt and his associates bought every share he sold, ultimately causing the stock price to rise from 90 to 285 in five months. Drew lost $500,000. In 1857 he forced his way into becoming a director of the Erie RR. During the famous "Erie War" (1866-68), Drew manipulated Erie stock so that he and his allies Jay Gould and James Fisk defeated the attempt of Cornelius Vanderbilt to gain control. Vanderbilt sustained heavy losses and conceded control of the railroad to the trio. In 1870, Fisk and Gould betrayed Drew, manipulating the stock price of the Erie Railroad and causing him to lose $1.5 million. The Panic of 1873 cost him still more, and by 1876, Drew filed for bankruptcy, with debts exceeding a million dollars and no viable assets. He died in 1879, dependent on his son for support. Drew, a devout Methodist, built churches in Carmel and Brewster, New York, contributed to the founding of Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, which is now part of Drew University, and Drew Seminary for Young Ladies in his home town of Carmel. Portrait and biography included.
The New York and Harlem Railroad (now the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line) was one of the first railroads in the United States, and was the world's first street railway. Designed by John Stephenson, it was opened in stages between 1832 and 1852 between Lower Manhattan to and beyond Harlem. Horses initially pulled railway carriages, followed by a conversion to steam engines, then one to battery-powered Julien electric traction cars. In 1907 the then leaseholders of the line, New York City Railway, a streetcar operator, went into receivership. Following a further receivership in 1932 the New York Railways Corporation converted the line to bus operation. The Murray Hill Tunnel now carries a lane of road traffic, but not the buses.
The line became part of the New York Central Railroad system with trackage rights granted to the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad into Manhattan. It is now part of the Metro-North Railroad system, and the only Manhattan trackage of that system. As of 2017, Metro-North operates commuter passenger service from Grand Central Terminal, via Southeast (change from electric to diesel power), to Wassaic. The trackless right-of-way from Wassaic to Chatham is being converted to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.
The company was incorporated on April 25, 1831 as the New York and Harlem Railroad, to link New York City with suburban Harlem. Among the company's founders was John Mason, a wealthy banker and president of Chemical Bank who was among the largest landowners in New York City. They decided to build their railroad on the eastern side of Manhattan Island, convinced that it would never be able to compete with steamboat traffic on the Hudson River.
- June 10, 1833 - north along Fourth Avenue to 32nd Street
- May 9, 1834 - north along Fourth Avenue to Yorkville, including the Murray Hill Tunnel
- October 26, 1837 - north along Fourth Avenue to Harlem, including the Yorkville Tunnel
- May 4, 1839 - south along Bowery, Broome Street and Centre Street to City Hall at Centre Street and Park Row
- September 3, 1842 - north to Williamsbridge
- December 1, 1844 - north to White Plains
- June 1, 1847 - north to Croton Falls
- December 31, 1848 - north to Dover Plains
- January 19, 1852 - north to Chatham Four Corners with a connection to the Albany and West Stockbridge Railroad, and trackage rights northwest to Albany
- November 26, 1852 - south along Park Row to Astor House at Park Row and Broadway
- A freight branch was built to Port Morris, from the 1853 purchase of the Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad and abandoned late in the 20th century. Parts are still visible.
In 1864 or 1865, a branch was added for trains between downtown and the East 34th Street Ferry Landing, running along 32nd Street, Lexington Avenue and 34th Street. This was the start of separate horse car service, running between Astor House and the ferry.
Grand Central Depot opened just north of 42nd Street in October 1871, and intercity passenger trains from the north were ended there. Freight trains continued to operate along the tracks south of Grand Central, as did streetcars (still turning off at 42nd Street).
As in other early railroads, the dominant propulsion in the railroad's early years was horse power. In 1837, steam engines were introduced, but their use was limited to areas outside of the heavily settled parts of the city, which was then north of 23rd Street.
The New York City Common Council passed an ordinance on December 27, 1854, to take effect in 18 months, barring the NY&H from using steam power south of 42nd Street, due to complaints by persons whose property abutted the right-of-way. Before that, the steam locomotives had run to 32nd Street. When the ordinance took effect, the NY&H had not done anything. After much debate, including an injunction issued preventing the city from enforcing the ordinance, the courts struck down the injunction on July 30, 1858.
In 1864, the railroad was purchased by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who consolidated it five years later with the Hudson River Railroad to form the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, a precursor of the much larger New York Central Railroad.
On July 2, 1870, horsecars started to run not only to the 34th Street Ferry but to 73rd Street via Madison Avenue. These trains ran through the Murray Hill Tunnel and turned west on 42nd before going north on Madison (northbound cars used Vanderbilt Avenue to 44th Street). The line was soon extended to 86th Street and then to Harlem.
On April 1, 1873, the NY&H leased its freight lines to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, but the horsecar line south of Grand Central remained separate. This eventually became the New York Central Railroad and then part of Penn Central and Conrail. Metro-North Railroad took over the line in 1983.
The first electric streetcar open to passengers in New York City, a Julien electric traction car, was run on September 17, 1888 on the line to 86th Street. The line went back to using horses for a time, but switched to a "below-grade third rail" (commonly called a "conduit") in 1897. On July 1, 1896, the Metropolitan Street Railway leased the streetcar lines.
The New York City Railway, which leased the Metropolitan, and hence also these lines, went into receivership on September 24, 1907. The receivers returned operation of the Fourth Avenue line back to the Metropolitan Street Railway on July 31, 1908. The lease was terminated on January 31, 1920 with operation was returned to the NY&H.