Huddling by the stove at the 72nd Street El

Berenice Abbott took this February 6, 1936 photograph of subway riders warming up in the El station at 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue. El tracks lined Columbus from 1879 to 1940.


The paneled windows, wooden turnstiles, and decorative border along the interior wall are some rather old-fashioned touches for a public train station. And when was the last time you saw a pot-bellied stove in the subway? Gives the photo quite a homey feel.

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5 Responses to “Huddling by the stove at the 72nd Street El”

  1. CelestialCharms Says:

    I grew up living 1/2 block away from an elevated train station in Queens. This photo brings back memories from when I was a little girl. Not in the 30’s, but in the 70’s. Things didn’t change much on that station, but pity we never had a stove there then. Just an electric heater. Interesting to note that sour faces were all the rage back then as well.

  2. r185 Says:

    I seem to recall one in the Avenue U or the Gravesend Neck Road station (East 16th Street) on what’s now the Q line in the 60’s. (When I was a kid we used both stations so I’m not sure which.

  3. Warming up by the stove in a city el station « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] belly stoves like that really existed in el stations, as this 1936 Berenice Abbott photo reveals. Looks warm and toasty, unlike most subway platforms in the […]

  4. Seventh Avenue as a dark, mysterious canyon | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] you’ve never imagined New York as a concrete canyon, this 1935 photo by Berenice Abbott just might change your […]

  5. Eric Gewolb Says:

    I Don’t see any homeless people lying on the ground or turn style jumpers in this photo!

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