That’s when the last piece of steel from the Third Avenue El was dismantled (below at 34th Street in the 1930s), bringing sunlight and broad views to a thoroughfare long known for its shadows and grime.
And right about when the El was finally removed, some residents and real estate officials called for Third Avenue to be given a more glamorous name.
“[Borough President Hulan E. Jack] said that at least five new names had been suggested,” wrote The New York Times on February 17, after a ceremony marking the removal of a steel column.
Among them were The Bouwerie, United Nations Avenue, International Boulevard, and Nathan Hale Boulevard (the Revolutionary War hero was reportedly hanged at today’s Third Avenue and 66th Street).
“One atomic-minded New Yorker had offered Fission Avenue,” stated the Times.
Borough President Jack was against a name change, though he did propose renaming the Bowery “Third Avenue South” to get rid of the Bowery’s “connotation of drunken derelicts and broken dreams.”
In the end, of course, Third Avenue remained Third Avenue . . . and the Bowery now connotes boutique hotels.
[Photo: New York City Municipal Archives]