The end of the Sixth Avenue El

This photo was taken in 1939, just after the el was dismantled. Imagine how grimy and dark Sixth Avenue must have been with trains constantly roaring overhead and the tracks and stations blocking out sunlight.


Plenty more has changed at the intersection of Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Avenue, Ninth Street, and Christopher Street in the ensuing 70 years. Sixth Avenue traffic no longer flows two ways. The Women’s House of Detention was torn down and turned into a lovely garden. Nedick’s hot dogs is now a Barnes & Noble.

And there’s now a traffic island in the middle of the intersection—making things even more chaotic and confusing for pedestrians and drivers alike.

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14 Responses to “The end of the Sixth Avenue El”

  1. Benjamin Kabak Says:

    Traffic islands don’t make things more chaotic or confusing for pedestrians. They make roads and street crossings a lot safer for pedestrians.

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I remember as a kid I would walk by and the filthy shouts streaming from the pen were scary but enticing too. It’s been years since I’ve seen the site. Thanks for the memories.

  3. OmaK Says:

    I remember the women in that jail. They screamed out the window at all of us– PS 41 students walking home after school or stopping at Sutter’s for an (expensive) snack. Can’t quite make it out, but I remember that the original Balducci’s fruit and vegetable stand was on the left, where Greenwich Avenue meets Sixth Avenue (across from Nedicks).

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I love these stories of the women shouting to pedestrians from the House of Detention. I think the House of D deserves its own post soon.

  5. theitalianscallion Says:

    The photo “The End of the Sixth Avenue El” could not have been taken in 1939. Zoom in adn look closely: there is a postwar Desoto taxi on the right side. Earliest date for this picture is 1946.

  6. bill6530 Says:

    I am a member of a group called Greenwich Village Kids on FB. This site and these photos have sparked controversy, arguments and resolved many questions that have come up in our memories of our old neighborhood. The majority of us have moved away but our hearts still live in the Village. (most of us lived and/or were born there in the 50s and 60s. Thanx b6530

  7. wildnewyork Says:

    I’ll have to check that FB group out–I’m a Greenwich Village kid, but from the 1970s.

  8. nabeguy Says:

    The building to the lower left with the awnings was definitely where the original Balducci’s was located. Sutter’s was the low white building just to left of the WHOD. And if you panned to the right, you’d see the Whelan’s that’s now occupied by Grey’s Papaya. Great photo with a lot of memories.
    bill6530, did you buy books at my family’s store, the 8th Street Bookshop by any chance?

    • Nikki Parsons Says:

      Sigh, six years after the original post and neither Barnes & Noble nor Gray’s is still in business on this corner.

  9. David Goodwin Says:

    The 8th street Bookstore? Will never forget it. Part of “old” NY, not to be replaced.

  10. Dreaming on the elevated tracks at 47th Street | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] her on the edge of what looks like a tenement roof, staring out onto the (soon to be demolished) Sixth Avenue elevated tracks and to Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and […]

  11. Dreaming on the elevated tracks at 47th Street | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

    […] her on the edge of what looks like a tenement roof, staring out onto the (soon to be demolished) Sixth Avenue elevated tracks and to Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and […]

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