This year is the 185th anniversary of the founding of the Long Island Railroad. Despite service delays and fare increases it remains the spine of Long Island and the center of its transportation network. The LIRR serves over 300,000 passengers a week with about 90 million rides a year.
The origins of the LIRR, chartered by New York State in April 1834, have a little remembered dark side. Much of the railroads early funding came from profits from Caribbean sugar produced by enslaved African labor. The key link between the LIRR, sugar and slavery was William F. Havemeyer. [Read more…] about NYC Mayor Havemayer: Sugar, Slavery and the Long Island Railroad