A Manhattan train station had a potbelly stove

Imagine how much better your winter workday commute would be if your station had a potbelly stove—which you could wait beside in toasty comfort?

Train riders at this West Side station had that luxury, as seen in one of the wonderful photos taken by Berenice Abbott in the 1930s for her legendary book, Berenice Abbott’s New York.

The potbelly stove photo was captured on February 6, 1936. We know the exact date—but which train station is this?

Over the years, it’s been misidentified as a subway station. But it’s actually an above ground El station, per Abbott’s photo caption: “”El station Interior, Sixth and Ninth Avenue lines, downtown side, 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue, Manhattan.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 Responses to “A Manhattan train station had a potbelly stove”

  1. ironrailsironweights Says:

    I’ve heard that the Third Avenue El stations had potbelly stoves too.


  2. roxanne bethany Says:

    I remember riding the El with my father and I remember the potbelly
    stoves. We got on at 42nd street and off and Pearl St. He was a
    printer and the printing businesses were in the Pearl/Fulton area.

  3. A Manhattan train station had a potbelly stove | Real Estate Investing Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate A Manhattan train station had a potbelly stove […]

  4. William Gilbert Says:

    I can’t find my source, but I remember reading about the identity of the people in this photo. The man warming his hands at the stove was Noel Coward. The other man on the left was Lorenz Hart and the woman was Alice B.Toklas.

  5. alaspooryorick Says:

    woman wearing what looks to be full length fur coat. it must have been cold indeed.

  6. The "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs Cuomo, Round 2" Edition Says:

    […] your usual subway station is outdoors, the winters can be brutal. A century ago, the IRT provided potbelly stoves in stations for its riders to stay warm while waiting for the train. (Ephemeral New […]

  7. Richard Says:

    Avenue X on the F train in Brooklyn still has an old rectangular, boxy heater only slightly less antiquated than this. I was just standing by it enjoying the warmth last week. In the waiting room one level below the platform of the elevated train. A gem!

  8. A Manhattan train station had a potbelly stove — Ephemeral New York | By the Mighty Mumford Says:

    […] A Manhattan train station had a potbelly stove — Ephemeral New York […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: