60 years ago today the Third Avenue El closed in Manhattan

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Arnold Eagle (1909-1992), Third Avenue El; Chatham Square Station, New York, ca. 1940, (461.1987)

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Arnold Eagle, Third Avenue El; 34th Street Station, New York, 1943, (479.1987)

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Arnold Eagle, Third Avenue El; Looking Up from 27th Street, New York, ca. 1938, (470.1987)

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Lee Sievan (1907-1990), Chatham Square, Where Third and Second Avenues Meet, New York, 1946, (1.1990)

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Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), “El,” Second and Third Avenue Lines, New York, April 24, 1936, (251.1985)

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Arnold Eagle (1909-1992), Under the Third Avenue El, North of 27th St., New York, 1939, (480.1987)

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Weegee (1899-1968), Under the Third Avenue El; But there is beauty along the street of forgotten men… it lies in the patterned black and white gold along the trolley tracks where the morning sun breaks through, Bowery, New York, ca. 1945, (Weegee Portfolio 35)

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Vivian Cherry, Watching the tearing down of the Third Avenue El, New York, 1955, (170.2003)

Remembering the Third Avenue El
The IRT Third Avenue Line, commonly known as the Third Avenue El, was an elevated railway running from Lower Manhattan to the Bronx. Opened in 1878, it was originally operated by the Suburban Rapid Transit Company and later acquired by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and eventually became part of the New York subway system.
After the Second, Sixth and Ninth Avenue Els were demolished in the early 1940’s, only the Third Avenue El remained, intended to stay in use until the Second Avenue Subway was built to replace it. Pressure to close the Third Avenue El from real estate interests soon followed.
The Third Avenue El was closed in sections from 1950 to 1973 starting with the closure of the South Ferry spur, which connected South Ferry to Chatham Square. The City Hall spur closed in 1953, which started at Park Row in Manhattan and then connected with the South Ferry spur at Chatham Square.
On May 12, 1955 the main portion of the line closed from Chatham Square all the way to East 149th Street in the Bronx, thus ending elevated line service in Manhattan. mta.info

The 3rd Avenue Elevated, nycsubway.org
The Rise and Decline of New York City’s Third Avenue Elevated Train Line, by Lawrence Stelter.


“Third Avenue El” by Carson Davidson, from the Prelinger Archives on archive.org.


“The End of The ‘El'” from the Prelinger Archives on archive.org.

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47 Responses to 60 years ago today the Third Avenue El closed in Manhattan

  1. Mary Engel says:

    Beautiful post Chris, as always…

  2. mypersonalteenlife says:

    I liked the pictures! Keep up the good work! xx

  3. theartmotel says:

    I was just thinking about the 3rd Ave El this morning! Two places that I lived in 1946 thru 1949 were on 3rd Ave.

  4. theartmotel says:

    Reblogged this on The Art Motel Blog and commented:
    I lived in two apartments on the Third Ave El…and these are my earliest memories of what outside looked like!!!

  5. theartmotel says:

    Love this!!! Thank you for this film!!!

  6. bhaskarpk says:

    I have two blogs when I like or comment one of my blog is displayed but I want another blog to display on my account please help me friends

  7. segmation says:

    Love how you blend History and photos! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Good thing they didn’t wait for the 2nd Ave subway to pull it down. Great post!

  9. Lovely photos, I particularly love the last image. Good job.

  10. Wow, that really looks like my Gramma

  11. Iove learning more and more about New York history. This post was great.

  12. I like the old black and white photographs, which evoke a place and a time.

  13. In the world we live in today, Americans have forgotten how hard others have worked to better our country. Thank you for the reminder.

  14. Crissy Dean says:

    A very refreshing post. It’s always nice to come across a great read like this. Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope you’ll come check out my newest post and leave me a comment with your thoughts. Keep up the great work! Oh, and Congrats on being ‘Freshly Pressed’ 🙂
    http://reallifenaturalwife.com/

  15. brhyins says:

    Reblogged this on Bradley's Blog and commented:
    Why is it called “El” Will Rhyins do you know anything about this?

  16. kcorym says:

    Reblogged this on kcorymwritingandart and commented:
    Some nice photos of New York 🙂

  17. lhvi340 says:

    Reblogged this on 2PalmsKeyLime.

  18. I love old black and white picturs..!! wow what an atmosphere..!!

  19. Ali Osman says:

    Good blog 😉

  20. Pingback: 60 years ago today the Third Avenue El closed in Manhattan | Twinspirational moments

  21. jccarlton says:

    Reblogged this on The Arts Mechanical and commented:
    The Third Ave. El. Gone, but not forgotten. I think that the city should have thought twice about removing the East Side els before 2nd Ave subway was built.

  22. janetgates says:

    Reblogged this on janetgates and commented:
    I may have already rd blogger this. This is so interesting to me. #historybuff

  23. Fascinating stuff – thanks!

  24. Edwin Roman says:

    One of NYC’s biggest mistakes was razing the El. I always felt that losing this in the Bronx, contributed to its downfall in 1970s. It’s done and hopefully the city can learn from the mistakes. At least we can remember it. On that note, one of the best picture books I have ever seen on the 3rd Avenue El is this one: http://www.bytheel.com/

  25. Thanks for this! Always wondered what it looked like. 4 generations of my family have lived and still live on the Lower East Side. Hearing stories of my Dad’s childhood always made me wonder what it looked like back in the day. Really cool pics. Helps me visualize what my neighborhood was like years ago.

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