Revisiting the Last Days of the Third Avenue El [PHOTOS]

Posted on: December 18th, 2019 at 5:04 am by

April 1955 in the Bronx, Photo: Susan Fensten

The Third Avenue Elevated line officially concluded service in May 1955. It had been part of the transit equation for decades. Thereafter, the trusses and tracks were removed from the streetscape, freeing namesake Third Avenue its Bowery tributary from the shadows.

During the demise, a photographer snapped several shots of the train on its final runs. Ever-reliable Boogie reader Susan Fensten shared some of these old images from her collection, which date back to the final days of the elevated line.

9th Street and 3rd Avenue, Photo: Susan Fensten

The Third Avenue El was one of the last elevated lines to operate in Manhattan, ultimately kept running with the intent of the Second Avenue Subway as replacement. The line began at South Ferry, through Chatham Square, ran up the Bowery into Third Avenue, then terminated at Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. Trackwork was relocated from the sidewalk to the center of the street in 1926.

Pressure against the elevated from real estate interests, as well as criticism from Mayor LaGuardia for being a blight on the community, led to the removal of the entire line on May 12, 1955.

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