A painter’s mystery scene on the Sixth Avenue elevated after midnight

Elevated trains were the fastest mode of mass transit in the late 19th century. Lurching and groaning high above the sidewalks along almost all of New York’s avenues, they whisked people to work, to school, to the theater, to Central Park, to department store shopping—all for a nickel per ride.

At night, the elevated invited intrigue. Everett Shinn, former newspaper illustrator best known as a member of the Ashcan School of social realism painting, captures a moment at one end of a poorly lit all-male car in his 1899 work, “Sixth Avenue Elevated After Midnight.”

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7 Responses to “A painter’s mystery scene on the Sixth Avenue elevated after midnight”

  1. beth Says:

    what an interesting look into that time and how people got from place to place

    • Don Says:

      Great to have a brief look beyond Edward Hopper and see other fine examples of the Ashcan School. Thanks for pulling this out of the archives.

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        I just came across it and really hit me—as Greg says below, there’s real energy to it.

  2. Renaplays Says:

    I believe this has After Midnight in the title, which would explain why only men are on the El. It’s a small sketch, and I wonder if there’s a painting of it somewhere.

  3. Greg Says:

    Sitting with this image for a while, it has some real energy to it

  4. Kiwiwriter Says:

    Great painting….it really freezes the time period.

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