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After a year of build up, the NYC Subway system officially turns 100 today. We love how the NY Times' Randy Kennedy starts his feature about the subway's 100th year (which has some nice interactive features as well):

For a New Yorker just one day shy of turning 100 years old, the subway kept crazy hours yesterday. In other words, there were no hours it did not keep. As its neighbors around the world locked up their stations and turned out their lights, the subway started a new day, just as it has more than 36,000 times since Oct. 27, 1904.

Of course, Gothamist is worried that the subway will no longer be the 24 hour party animal with looming budget problems, but we're going to try to stay focused on the wonders the subway does bring us. Today, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow, Ms. Subways, and other dignitaries will take a nostalgia train from City Hall Station, to reenact the first subway ride 100 years ago to the day by Mayor McLellan. They will be riding in this train, the Lo-V train, to 42nd Street. And City Hall station was recently reopened for the event, though it's just a temporary opening; here's a gallery of City Hall station, which is a truly dazzling station (chandeliers!) and makes Gothamist wish it could be open permanently. And the Straphangers are offering a slice of Junior's cheesecake to the first 100 people to sign a birthday card to the subway at the Municipal Arts Society's Urban Gallery (457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street) starting at 1:30PM in Midtown, according to Newsday.

For Gothamist's money, we'll be taking as many transfers as we can today, to celebrate the subcultures in each of the subways - frazzled Wall Street types on the 2/3, arty students on the N/R, Brooklyn hipsters on the L, Brooklyn yuppies on the F, "boricuas" on the 6, high school students on the 4/5, Chinese immigrants on the B/D...it goes on and on, happily so. Here's the MTA's site about the centennial, with interesting articles about the system, and a PDF of events. Newsday also has a great section dedicated to the subway centennial, with interactive features. The Daily News has a birthday editorial about the subway system. Yesterday, the NY Times's Clyde Haberman wrote about the subway map; Gothamist looked at two different subway maps - you can see better pictures here. Earlier this year, the NY Times had a section dedicated to life with the subway. Here's a timeline of notable events during the subway's history, and we can't forget the great subway website, NYC Subway. And DCist has a great look at their mass transit system, with their post on Metrorail's "Dark Future".