Railroads have been key to the development of New York City for over 150 years. First developed as a countermeasure to Boston’s railroad building, specifically to the Erie Canal, one of the most important corridors of commerce in the United States at the time. Commercial giants of the day such as J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt were at the forefront of railroad development. As much as they influenced the development of the country, railroads influenced the growth and development of the city. Railroad expansion caused the city to grow. When the New York Central (now Metro-North) tracks were buried under Park Avenue, it allowed that avenue to develop into one of the most high end parts of the city. Competition for the New York City market by the two biggest railroads, Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central, led to the construction of two large stations, Grand Central and Penn Station. Both were stunning architectural works, but only one survives today. As rail travel declined following World War II, the original Penn Station was demolished in 1964 for monetary reasons. This foreshadowed the collapse of the private passenger railroad industry in America. Railroads are less important to New York now than in the past, but their influence on the city cannot be missed.