A 1899 Edison Manufacturing Company film of a subway ride over The Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
In 1898, the modern City of New York was formed with the consolidation of Brooklyn (until then an independent city), Manhattan and outlying areas. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 did for the city what railroad expansion and the Erie Canal did for the nation. The population was expanding due to immigration and commerce was booming. In less than five years the need for several more bridges would be apparent as Williamsburgh and the rest of Brooklyn also grew in population. On Manhattan “uptown” was moving quickly past 14th Street. Soon, people would be calling it “downtown.” The subway system was already on its way.