Thrills and spills on the Manhattan El

Back in the days when trains criss-crossed the city on elevated tracks, riders must have gotten quite a rush at certain steep curves—some as high as 100 feet off the ground.

Angel’s Curve, also known as Suicide Curve, was part of the Ninth Avenue El at 110th Street, where the tracks swerved from Ninth to Eighth Avenue. Here’s an 1886 photo:

 

Another serpentine curve, shown in this late-1800s photo, was located downtown at Coenties Slip just before the East River. The tracks were part of the Third Avenue El:

Dead Man’s Curve, at Broadway and 14th Street, never leaves the ground, but it looks like a fairly exhilarating turn for streetcar riders. The 1897 woodcut below shows how dangerous it was for pedestrians.

The streetcars are gone, but it’s still a tricky intersection to cross.

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