FUN WITH MAPS 2023 Finale! –


By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (December 22, 2023) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps takes us  under the river and through the tunnel with Mr. First.


The Lincoln Tunnel opened for business on December 22, 1937, connecting New Jersey and Manhattan by traveling under the Hudson River.  That was just the first of three “tubes”, the other two being opened in 1945 and 1957.

In the beginning, drivers were charged a 50-cent toll for using the tunnel.  Since 1970 there is only a toll collected for going from New Jersey into Manhattan, and the current rate is $17/trip.

The first man to drive through the tunnel is actually a lesser-known celebrity of NYC firsts. 

Omero Catan earned the nickname of Mr. First by doing 537 notable things.  He was, among other firsts, the first to drive across the George Washington Bridge in 1931, the first to use the 8th Street Subway in 1932, the first to skate in Rockefeller Plaza in 1936, and parked in his spot at 10pm the night before to be sure to be the first to drive through the Lincoln Tunnel.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While Omero Catan is most remembered for his “firsts” in this edition of Fun with Maps, he’ll have to settle for a “last”. This is the LAST Edition of Fun with Maps for 2023. Fun with Maps will return with fresh stories to tell and maps to view on Monday, January 8th right here on Loveland Beacon.  Until then, Steve and Theresa Kovacs thank you for your loyal following during 2023 and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Freedman’s Supervue map of Manhattan is presented here from four years prior to the opening of the tunnel.  Ferries dominated the crossing from New Jersey then.  

Birds eye ‘Supervue’ of Manhattan – 1933 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.