A GREAT TRADING CITY AND A GREAT TRADE ROUTE 199. Busy New York.—New York is a big and busy city. To shelter its office workers, buildings have been built forty stories high. So many people crowded the street cars that elevated railways, as high as the second or third story windows of the houses, have been built. Even these cannot carry all of the people who need to ride, and some of the streets now have a third set of railways, running in tunnels, called subways. Passengers must go down two or three flights of stairs to reach the trains. Even these subway trains are often so full of people that every bit of standing room is taken, and not another person can be pushed into the cars.
Thousands of men are busy every day loading and unloading ships, loading and unloading freight cars, driving trucks and wagons about the streets, running barges in the harbor from ship to ship, and from ship to wharf.
At one time you may find in New York hundreds of merchants from places as far away as Florida, Oklahoma, Dakota, and California. They have come to buy things that have just come in from Europe or from American factory towns. Thousands of people are busy in the wholesale stores writing letters, keeping accounts, boxing up goods, and send ing them away to retail stores throughout the country.
Why is New York such a good place to buy and sell? Go back to the early days for a moment.
200. Settling the Central States.—As soon as white men had explored North America enough to know that west of the eastern mountains there was a great, rich, level plain, they Wanted to own that coun try; they knew that some day it would have a large trade.
As time went by, many settlements were made along the Ohio, the Mississippi and the eastern Great Lakes. More people kept coming from Europe, both English and French. People from the Atlantic Coast settlements joined them, until there were many people living west of the Appalachians.
To trade with these settlers, the people along the coast had to go across the moun tains by slow wagons. The only water
routes were the St. Lawrence River and the Mississippi. But look at your map (Fig. 51) and see how far apart the mouths of these rivers are, and also how far they are from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the cities where most of the business on the coast was being done in those days.. If only they had had an easy waterway through the mountains! Re member there were no railroads anywhere then. They decided the only thing to do was to build canals, as the Europeans had done for many years. But the mountains were so high that crossing them by canals would be a very hard piece of work.
The story of how they were built is a very interesting one.
201. Building canals over the Appa people of Washington City started to build a canal up the Potomac River and over the mountains to Pitts burgh; the people of Philadelphia built a canal from the Delaware to the Susque hanna and up the Juniata, a branch of the Susquehanna; the people of New York built the^ Erie Canal from Troy up the Mohawk River, a branch of the Hudson.
The map (Fig. 198) shows why the people of New York won in this race of the canals. There is a low place in the eastern highlands in New York State. Between the Adirondack Mountains on the north and the Allegheny Plateau on the south is the valley of the Mohawk River. The canal from Albany to Buffalo followed the Mohawk and had to .climb only four hundred and twenty feet above the Hud son to get across the divide. The routes from Washington to Pittsburgh, and from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, had to climb mountains over two thousand feet high.
The boats on the Pennsylvania canal were made in two parts that hooked to gether in the middle. When they came to the foot of the mountain, they were lifted out of the water on wheeled trucks and hauled up the mountain by cables drawn by stationary engines. Fig. 209 shows how the canal boats climb up from the Hudson to Lake Erie.