Sixth Avenue and 28th Street: 1938 vs. 2010

“Ride on the Open Air Elevated” commands the side of this Sixth Avenue El station—an attempt to lure New Yorkers away from the IND underground.

Berenice Abbott took this photo in November 1938. The 28th Street station had already closed and was slated for demolition, notes Changing New York, as was the entire Sixth Avenue elevated line . . . and eventually all the els across the city.

Here’s the same view up Sixth Avenue today. This stretch, center of the shrinking flower district, is open and appears wider and brighter.

Nothing from the 1938 photo looks similar, except the decorative border around the building on the left that’s now a McDonald’s.

Could it be the same building with the top floors sheared off? Possibly; back then, this McDonald’s was a Child’s restaurant.

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8 Responses to “Sixth Avenue and 28th Street: 1938 vs. 2010”

  1. zz Says:

    The top photo is looking east or west, so the bottom photo probably isn’t from the same position.

  2. Thomas Jefferson Says:

    it went from film noir to film blaah.

  3. W Says:

    Train would have been going up 6th ave, so the old picture is shot across 28th, not up 6th like the new pic since the the station is left to right. and i’m guessing looking east due to the shadows from the sun.

    if you look at the new pic, you can see the top of the green building, 2nd past the corner, has a sign with a big A and M, then look over the train station in the upper left of the old pic.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    Ah, I get it–I should’ve figured that out.

  5. Amy Says:

    One interesting fact about the buildings along Ladies’ Mile (6th Ave) is the large showcase windows on the second floor of many of the old department stores. The second story showcase windows were constructed so people on the el could see the window displays as the train went by.

  6. William J. Armstrong Says:

    Since the abandonment date of the Sixth Avenue elevated line was December 4, 1938, it was still in operation when Berenice Abbott photographed the 28th Street station in November 1938.

    • Edward Carlon Says:

      Can u imagine the tourists and regulars who would be using that el today? It would be standing room only. Who would want to be underground where u can see absolutely nothing? Those els would put the Mta in the blue. They would be a gold mine. I wish I could ride on one. And u would never have to worry about a flood. New York does the stupidest things sometimes. But I guess it’s all about $$$ they didn’t want the working class to live around the els.

  7. trilby1895 Says:

    28th Street from between Broadway to 6th Avenue aka Tin Pan Alley. I love walking along that block imagining what Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin heard back in the day. Miraculously, some buildings still exist from those exhilerating days (and nights!) Not only music publishers thrived along this street; it was also a center of brothels and gambling “dens”. Developers – I beseech you…..PLEASE leave this historic street (or what’s still remaining) ALONE.

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