A witness to much change is the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal directly across from downtown Manhattan. CNJ Commuter and long distance trains of the host railroad, Reading, and B&O used to discharge their passengers here and they would take the short ferry ride across to their final destination in New York City.
With commuter costs crippling the financially struggling CNJ, an agreement was reached between the state and CNJ in 1967 to allow passenger operations to be routed to and terminate at the Pennsylvania’s Newark Station.
The terminal, built in 1889, saw it’s last train on April 30, 1967. The terminal, which once hosted the Blue Comet, Crusader, Capitol Limited, Royal Blue, and the Wall Streeters, was suddenly without a purpose.
Over the years, the state park service acquired the land and tied it into Liberty State Park that also features the Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island. The station has been well maintained and used for various functions including concerts and model train shows over the years. Ferry service was also restored here by a private company and offered a convenient way to get to the city, even if you had to come by car or bus.
The terror of 9/11 changed the downtown landscape more rapidly than any other factor in the almost 400 years since Manhattan was first settled. Of course, we all know that the Twin Towers came down, but so did many other building either directly or indirectly. During the rescue effort, the terminal grounds and ferry landings were used to transport aid workers back and forth as well as to stage ambulances that carried away the wounded.
Rebuilding has been steady and the new beacon of our resilience, The Freedom Tower, has finally been completed near the site of the original twin towers. To honor the nearly 3000 victims, each anniversary since the attack has been marked by a twin beam of lights that seem to reach into the heavens, honoring not only the two lost towers, but the memory of those who perished.
Surprising sparred by man, the terminal took a hit from nature when Superstorm Sandy slammed into it on Oct. 29, 2012 and flooded the building, breaking windows, and damaging the roof. The building survived and has been mostly repaired, and will soon be open to the public. The future looks bright for this 125 year old building.
An ongoing/growing album of photos that IMHO reveal the awesome, but seldom seen beauty of railroads because most of us don't go out after sundown or before sunrise. From dusk to dawn, lights are on! (And I continue to find new "Lights In The Night"!)