The more things change, the more they stay the same, especially when it comes to our beloved mass transit system. Tell me if this sounds familiar: the first underground line of the subway, which extended from City Hall to 104th Street, was originally scheduled to open in March or April of 1904. However, a dip in temperatures delayed delivery of materials; in mid-February, an announcement was made that the project had been pushed back until the summer.

By the end of February, there was another glimpse of the future when subway organizers got their first taste of a lifetime of journalists hitting them with questions. The Times ran the story, "When Will The Subway Open?", in which a reporter posed that question to August Belmont Jr., who founded the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in 1902 to help finance the construction of and operate the first subway line. His response: it "would be impossible" to say exactly when.

In March, the Times reported that officials were preparing to celebrate the opening of the train "with great pomp" in June, with a budget of over $200K and an invite list that included President Roosevelt, various governors of other states, and politicians from Europe. In April, it was reported that the name of Long Acre Square would be changed to Times Square to coincide with the opening of the station; not-so-coincidentally a week later, the value of realty in Times Square increased in value.

However, as the months went on, no date was set. By early June, with several of the stations on the main line having opened, the Rapid Transit commissioners declared that the subway would open by October 1st (the subhead of that story read: "Attempt to Finish Work Sept. 1 Will Probably Fail"). In July, they apparently thought they could do better than that and announced Sept. 1st as the opening date to the public, but as the previous subhead warned, that failed, partially because of various threats of strikes by workers.

On September 2nd, electric power was turned on in the subway for the first time, and trains started going up and down the line: "Even if the Interborough Rapid Transit Company was unable to make good its earlier promises about opening the subway on Sept. 1, it celebrated the day by turning on the electric power all along the finished portion of the line. Throughout the day a train ran up and down. Crew after crew was drilled, and in the afternoon some of the Rapid Transit Commissioners accompanied members of the Belmont syndicate on an inspection trip." A few days later, NYC experienced its first subway fire.

More stations opened, more deadlines were missed, and work continued until September 27th, when it was announced that the subway would open to the public one month later. The plans for a huge celebration hit a speed bump though: instead of $200K, which was first proposed, or $50K that was asked, the budget turned out to be only $5K. The Times wrote, "It seems more than likely that the opening of the subway is likely to pass unnoticed as far as any great celebration of the event by the city authorities is concerned." Final preparations were on track a week later, despite some unpainted stations, and there was tons of excitement to get tickets for opening day.

Finally, on the afternoon of October 27th, 1904, a little after 2 p.m., the first underground train (not including that beautiful pneumatic system) ran through NYC, and things would never be the same. The Times wrote the next day that over 150,000 passengers ("amid the tooting of whistles and the firing of salutes") paid the 5¢ fare to ride it on the first day of operation. Things didn't go entirely smoothly, as this Jalopnik article points out, but it was a pretty good start that gave a great indication of what was in store for commuters for a century to come. (The complaints never stopped.)

In honor of the 115th anniversary of that first train ride, check out some photos of the subway from over the years up above.