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)
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
“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.