Within a few years the LIRR concluded that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em or, in other words, orchestrate a takeover, which is what happened in 1899 when the Long Island Rail Road purchased the Montauk Steamboat Company. What the rail road’s directors had in mind was to create a monopoly rather than continue running majestic steamboats. The railroad remained in the steamboat business only until 1915. By then competition from automobiles and from its own vastly improved rail service resulting from the completion, in 1910, of an East River tunnel, which permitted LIRR trains to run directly into Manhattan, had made the Montauk Steamboat Company a drain on the railroad’s resources or so the railroad claimed. With the passing of the LIRR’s steamboat service, an era of leisurely travel came to an end. In the 20th century getting here was not half the fun but as the 21st century progresses one can only hope that innovative ways of getting to and around theEast End are just over the horizon.
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