Making All Stops, Volume One 1970-1976

Making All Stops: New York City Subway Photography, Volume One, 1970-1976 is a book put together by O.S.Funk and released by Only The Best Books, LLC (a small publisher from Jackson Heights, New York) detailing the unique history, through photography, of the Big Apple's transit systems during the 1970s (a period when equipment was generally in poor condition and rundown, a stark contrast to today). Many of the book's images feature Steve Zabel's work, which is a well known (and remembered) figure in the transit railfan community for the fabulous photography he captured on New York's subways (and the late elevated lines before they were razed) from the late 1960s through the 1970s (and even some images of the 1980s). There are also a half-dozen other photographers featured and their work is also quite amazing. It should also be noted that this book can only be purchased directly through the publisher and more information can be found about that below. Overall, if you enjoy transit and subways this book is a must for your collection!

As author O.S.Funk notes in the early pages of Making All Stops the book would not have been possible without the work of Steve Zabel. Not only was Mr. Zabel a railfan, notably of New York's transit services, but also a fine freelance photographer. The entire introduction and early sections of the book mention Steve, his life, and photography. As you will learn, he was so enamored with NYC's subway system that he spent nearly 20 years working there and snapped images throughout his career. Sadly, Steve died tragically in the late 1980s with his collection split up amongst several individuals. This first volume is only a sampling of Steve's work and there is also a second volume soon to be released that features more of his photography between the late 1970s and late 1980s.

It should be noted that Mr. Zabel is not the only photographer featured in Making All Stops. Others who contributed photos and helped in some manner to see the book come to fruition included Jon Graham, Doug Grotjahn, Ed McKernan, Eric Oszustowicz, Michael Piselli, and Joe Testagrose. Within a few pages you can read a few words from these individuals, as well as others from the New York City area who helped bring the book together including (they are not all mentioned by name but are credited nonetheless). In the final introductory section you can read from friends of Mr. Zabel who speak of his life, and work, capturing scenes of the Big Apple's subways (written by all of the folks mentioned above as well as Greg Campolo and Keith Edwards).

Beginning on page seventeen you learn more about the actual history of NYC's subways, in this case their involvement on the big screen (i.e., Hollywood). Not surprisingly, given the size of the city and region there have been plenty of films featuring the local transit systems and book provides you with a snapshot of these between the years 1971 to 1989; everything from major motion pictures to weekly sitcoms. As you will see, in a span of less than 20 years there were more than 100 films that in some way included the subways; notably Friday The 13th, Part VIII, Trueblood, Taxi Driver, and another King Kong remake. On page 24 the book begins to feature the photos starting with Mr. Zabel's in the spring of 1969.

Making All Stops is not really structured by chapters as you might traditionally think a book to have. It more or less simply has different organized categories of photos, which is quite appropriate since they makeup nearly 80% of the pages. As mentioned above you first see Steve's work of classic NYC subway cars like R10s and R1-9s. This first section, which is just a few pages in length does not highlight only New York's transit system as Mr. Zabel traveled around the Northeast documenting others like the Red Arrow cars of Philadelphia and SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) and even PCCs as far west as Pittsburgh. While I am not a transit railfan by trade I personally found the section featuring Steve's rooftop photos the most interesting and breathtaking.

With the New York City skyline as a backdrop, Mr. Zabel captured the old elevated system throughout the 1970s and 1980s running long trains on lines that were usually either double or triple-tracked (also, if you are interested in learning more about New York's elevated lines please click here to learn more about Frank K. Hain And The Manhattan Railway Company). As an interesting aside, when new equipment began to appear around 1970 in an attractive blue and silver livery it was obviously quite clean. However, in other photos taken about ten years later the cars are well worn and heavily graffitied. Beginning on page 40 the book highlights special car numbers. In general, the rest of Making All Stops features photography throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s with the final area focusing specifically on the 3rd Avenue Elevated.

Again, if you have an interest in transit, subway systems, and/or their history you are sure to enjoy Making All Stops: New York City Subway Photography, Volume One, 1970-1976 and may even want to look into purchasing the second volume that will soon be available. Currently, these two titles are the only books available through Only The Best Books, LLC. However, given the large library of photos from Mr. Zabel's collection still available and not yet in print if these first two volumes prove a hit there will almost certainly be more books in the works. Also, as mentioned above these titles can be purchased only through the publisher and are not available at either Barnes & Noble,, or any other major book retailer. If you are interested in purchasing Making All Stops please click here to visit their website and get in touch with Peter, the publisher at Only The Best Books, LLC.