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New York City’s Elevated Railroads: Journey to a spectacular world of steam trains along the avenues

Above: The Third Avenue Line as it looked running along the Bowery, changing the nature of New York street life, even as its innovations helped expand the city. PODCAST Before there were subways, New York City transported travelers up and down the length of Manhattan by elevated railroad, an almost unreal spectacle to consider today. […]

Broadway to go: the horrible commute that never was

Imagine seeing this monstrosity coast up and down Broadway — an elevated railway with cars carried both above and below the track. By the early 1850s, steam engines had revolutionized how people traveled. However, in the heart of densely populated New York, it would have been unfeasible for trains to just pull into town down […]

Girls on the go! Images from the Library of Congress

Some great images from the Library of Congress, a wonderful resource for historical explorers. The links to the original photographs are under the individual photographs: February 1912 With the dark shadows of the Third Avenue elevated train to her right, a girl fights the wind to return home with a bundle of coats. These are […]

Always a lady, even in a New York blizzard

(click for larger view)1899 “On the streets in a New York blizzard.” I can’t quite figure out where this is taken. Any guesses? Photo taken by the Byron Company, one of the city’s leading photography studios of the day. Remarkably, a descendant of founder Joseph Byron still operates a photo studio today. From the Library […]

Eliminating the Third Avenue Elevated

Looking up the Bowery in 1920 (from LIFE images) Fifty-four years ago today, Manhattan passengers said goodbye a true vestige of 19th century New York — the elevated railroad. The last ride on the Third Avenue El was taken on May 12, 1955. The line stretched up almost the entire length of Manhattan (from Chatham […]