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A "Higher Authority"

 
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:12 pm    Post subject: A "Higher Authority" Reply with quote

All:

In a book I have about the late Cardinal Cushing of Boston, it was interesting to learn that, to earn money for college, he became a conductor on BERy streetcars in Boston (this was in 1913)

In later years, as a Cardinal, he led the transit worker's annual march (most of who were Irish) and also prevailed at the Mass that was celebrated for their departed transit brothers.

This took place over the course of many years.

What I truly found interesting was that many of the larger BERy car houses/repair facilities had chapels, where the men could meditate.

In today's society, something like this would, most certainly, surely be a "no-no", for any of a number of reasons.

I've read that it was said that "IRT" stood for "Irish Rapid Transit" and "Irish Run Trains"; many streetcar, subway, and el men in New York were of Irish descent, back in the day.

I know that, like the main-line railroads, the streetcar (and rapid transit companies) of that era also had many fraternal/recreational clubs/organizations for the men.

Regardless of religion, I have been wondering if any of the car houses/depots/garages in the New York area ever had chapels for the men, and, if any Church officials ever marched (or associated) with them.

Appreciate any information.......thanks in advance.....

"NYO"


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From: "THE AMERICAN POPE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF FRANCIS CARDINAL SPELLMAN" (John Cooney):

"......in 1942, Spellman was called upon to intervene in a bitter labor dispute involving the city's transit employees. Michael Quill, the burly, loudmouthed president of the TWU, had challenged La Guardia by calling a strike over higher wages. The Mayor stubbornly dug in his heels, rather than be bullied by Quill......"

"........a citizen's committee tried to find a compromise To this Quill responded, 'What about calling the Cathedral and seeing where the Catholic Church stands on this?' ......"

".........Quill made an appointment with Spellman. Though Spellman privately detested unions, if he could find an impass to the transit stalemate, both the unions and the Mayor would be in his debt......"

"........after this meeting, Spellman announced a compromise. A new committee to investigate city relations with transit workers was quickly formed. Spellman had broken the deadlock. He saw to it that he maintained a position of strength in the outcome of the dispute......"

".........the committee was headed by Spellman's men, Ignatius M. Wilkinson, then Dean of Fordham Law School. Spellman hadn't missed an angle. After the Wilkinson report was submitted, the transit workers received raises, and the City's labor policies with the unions was revised......."

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cardinal Cushing and the BERy:

"......Cushing is also an honorary member of the Street Railwaymen's union, in recognition of his year of working for the Boston Elevated Railway......"

".......another of the fund-raising groups created by Cushing was the Mission Circle of the Boston Elevated Railway"......."

(with hundreds of FACCo. buses lumbering past St. Patrick's each day for decades, one cannot help but wonder how many of the drivers (and conductors) may have worshiped there, and also, if any of the Church officials were ever involved in some way with FACCo. management)

"NYO"
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N4 Jamaica




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Francis Spellman, born 1889, and Richard Cushing, born 1895, though both prelates of important sees and both cardinals, are hardly to be mentioned in the same thread. In my view, Cushing was shoulders above Spellman because of his working-class background. Cushing's dad, according to Wikipedia, earned $18 weekly from the BER as a blacksmith.
---
I have not succeeded in finding the event at Mission Church (Allston-Dudley, bus 66, Tremont Street) where Cushing derided the Christian Front, an import from Brooklyn. Dates do not match.
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

N4 Jamaica wrote:
Francis Spellman, born 1889, and Richard Cushing, born 1895, though both prelates of important sees and both cardinals, are hardly to be mentioned in the same thread. In my view, Cushing was shoulders above Spellman because of his working-class background. Cushing's dad, according to Wikipedia, earned $18 weekly from the BER as a blacksmith.
---
I have not succeeded in finding the event at Mission Church (Allston-Dudley, bus 66, Tremont Street) where Cushing derided the Christian Front, an import from Brooklyn. Dates do not match.


Joe:

Good to see you again here! Very Happy

I totally agree; Cushing was indeed a "working man's prelate".

While Spellman (with all due respect) surrounded himself with powerful businessmen and high-ranking politicians, Cushing, on the other hand, was the kind of man who would give his galoshes to the first poor soul he saw who needed them, even during a blizzard.

Kids loved to tag along behind him, because they knew they's be treated to goodies at the nearest candy store.

For many years, Cushing was not above using Boston's mass transit; I've read that, once he gave a poor man all the money he had on him, but then found himself cashless when he reached the change booth in the subway!

The kind agent waved Cushing through the turnstile; Cushing said he would be back tomorrow to pay him back.......imagine this today!

As I had mentioned earlier, with so many of New York's transit workers of Irish descent many years back, I'm sure that there had to be some local clergy who involved themselves with the workers, if only at their fraternal affairs..........

"NYO"


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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's also interesting to note that both the novel and film of "THE CARDINAL" made connections between Boston's streetcar men and the Church.

In the novel, "Din Fermoyle" (main character Father Stephen Fermoyle's father) was a Boston motorman, who, after "forty years on the cars", finally retired.

As he retired about 1932, that meant he must have worked aboard the earliest electrics.

In the film, however, "Din" is a conductor, working aboard historic ex-Boston streetcar #396*; this "movie star car" was also painted and lettered for "PACIFIC TRACTION" when it was used in the 1895 Brooklyn streetcar strike in an episode of the 1977 PBS miniseries "THE BEST OF FAMILIES".

In the novel, the streetcars are operated by the "BOSTON STREETCAR COMPANY"; in the film, it's "BOSTON MUNICIPAL" (the novel begins in 1915, while the film begins in 1917)

If you read the excellent book "CARDINAL CUSHING OF BOSTON" (John Henry Cutler), you can see that, at least in part, that "Cardinal Lawrence Glennon" in "THE CARDINAL" was based upon William Cardinal O' Connell of Boston........

"NYO"

*This double-truck car was built by ST. LOUIS in 1900, and it the sole survivor of its type.

In 1923, this car was retired from revenue service and, for many years, served both the BERy and the early MTA as an electrical test car until 1954; the car went to Seashore, but came back to Boston once again for the filming of "THE CARDINAL".

In 1977 (sans enclosed vestibules) the car was used in a PBS miniseries "Best Of Families" episode (which I have already mentioned here)

This historic car still resides at Seashore today........
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N4 Jamaica




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My parents came down to Washington for my 1959 graduation (B.A., College of Arts and Sciences, real major riding Capital Transit) and Cardinal Cushing was the principal speaker in the field house. I was much embarrassed, because Cushing seemed drunk, he rambled so much and spoke with a slurred or gravelly voice. Decades later, I learned that was his real speaking style. The more I read, the more I admired him. Money flowed into him and then out of him. He raised money and gave it away on projects, maybe too many that disappeared like streetcars to Watertown and Arborway.
---
If I get back to reading biographies of him, I'll have to match his timeline with other events, such as the despoliation of Blue Hills Avenue as described by Hillel Levine in "The Death of an American Jewish Community." There is a chance the South Boston busing and planned blockbusting of Dorchester happened after Cushing died in 1970.
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe:

Great input, as always.....thank you! Wink

Regarding Cushing's gravely voice:

In "CARDINAL CUSHING OF BOSTON", the Cardinal blamed his "awful voice" to the days when he worked as a BERy conductor, bawling out the stops and street names!

Once, Cushing amazed a friend by hailing him a cab that was at least a block away; so powerful was his voice, the hack heard him a block distant!

Anything he was given as a gift (wearing apparel or otherwise), he gave away to someone else, especially if they were in need.

Like "Cardinal Glennon" in "THE CARDINAL", Cushing also enjoyed playing the piano.

As in many big cities, back in the days of the streetcars, the Irish pretty well dominated not only the Church, but also, the police and fire departments, not to mention the transit systems.

IMHO, when one delves deeper into transit history, you'd be surprised as to just how much you will learn, beyond the operations of the buses, streetcars, and rapid transit networks!

"NYO"

*Capital Transit in 1959:

The car lines using overhead trolley wires were still in use, as were the "plow pits"; by 1960, those lines were gone, and the remaining lines used conduit only until the streetcars were replaced by buses in early 1962.


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe:

On a loosely related note, I recommend to you an excellent book: "TROLLEY WARS: STREETCAR WORKERS ON THE LINE"(Scott Molloy)

This well-written, highly-informative book focus on the early years of streetcars in Rhode Island, and much focuses on the bloody and violent "Car Wars" of 1902, as well as the political climate of that day......

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe/All:

Just came across the following; I think you'll find this of interest......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1914_Saint_John_street_railway_strike
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Cushing
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While on this topic, mention must be made of the late Fr. Michael Cosgrove.......

Fr. Cosgrove, many years ago, was not only the Jesuit associate pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Church (84th & Park Avenue); he was also chaplain for many Catholic groups in the NYCTA/MTA, and was also the only priest in New York who was, interestingly enough, a qualified motorman! Shocked

You'll find an interesting little story about Fr. Cosgrove in Stan Fischler's classic "UPTOWN, DOWNTOWN"

For a time, he was assigned to a mission in the Caroline Islands, in the South Pacific; while there, he used old IRT kerosene markers to hang on his off-shore fish traps! Shocked

Fr. Cosgrove stated, that, "....even during a typhoon, those old IRT lights were the only ones that never blew out....."(!!)

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a somewhat related note, read of Mike Quill's association with the Dr. Martin Luther King (also, note the photo of them together at the National TWU Convention in 1961)

In 1965, the TWU also marched with Dr. King in Selma.

https://www.twu.org/our_union/history/
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very interesting article; note where, at one time, Mr. Quill tried to enlist the help of a Catholic organization, "The Friendly Sons Of St. Patrick".........*

https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/mike-quill-twu-ira-irish-hero

*Also, read of Catholic bosses on the IRT firing Catholic change-booth clerks for allowing an African-American station porter to fill in for him, while he went to early Mass.

This was something I was totally unaware of, until I read this article...........

"NYO"
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