The Original Subway Kitten Was This 1925 Street Cat

Mother cat Blackie halts traffic as she transports her five kittens, one by one, across Lafayette St. at Walker St. in lower Manhattan. Police Office James Cudmore gives a helping hand.
This was the No. 1 news story of 1925. Photo: Harry Warnecke/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Almost 90 years before two subway lines were held up for hours to spare a couple of kittens, a police officer stalled traffic on Centre Street in downtown Manhattan to let a mother cat and her kitten cross the street. According to the book Great News Photos and the Stories Behind Them, photographer Harry Warnecke missed the original crossing but convinced the cop to reenact it three times — to the consternation of irate motorists — until he got the shot just right. It was the craziest thing that happened that year.