Wherever people went, George Horn was there first 1

The childhood home of “Mr. Firster” George E. Horn, far right, at 115-41 217 St. in Cambria Heights in the 1940s.

George Edward Horn was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 28, 1918. His parents bought a brand-new house in 1925 at 115-41 217 St. in Cambria Heights.

He was the first man through the westbound lane of the Lincoln Tunnel when it opened in 1937 when he also first met his lifelong competitor at being first, Omero Catan, who drove the first car traveling in the eastbound lane. They shook hands.

Horn was also the first to drop a nickel in the turnstile in the Sixth Avenue IND subway that opened in 1940 at West 4th Street. As a motorman for the New York City Transit Authority he also was the first to enter the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs from the Willets Point train station entrance.

He was the editor for The Electric Railroaders Association for many years. He produced a film in 1958 on the vanishing Third and Ninth Avenue elevated lines. He eventually became yardmaster of the Transit Authority’s Jamaica subway yards. Unlike his competitor, Catan, who had more “firsts” than him, Horn was a true historian who photographed and documented everything.

He passed away on Jan. 30. 2006 in Vallejo, Calif. At his memorial he was credited with being the first or last fare on various NYC subway lines. The lifelong bachelor was credited with at least 60 “firsts” in his life and was called “Mr. Firster.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.