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Friday, May 4, 2012

5th Avenue El Brooklyn at 38th Street - Facing North 1940

Photo Source:  George Conrad Collection obtained at

This photo, shot on 6/5/1940 I believe several days after service stopped on many els.  This view is facing north on Fifth Avenue Brooklyn at 38th Street looking towards the 36th Street station.  The tracks turning left will lead to the 3rd Avenue El in Brooklyn, while the tracks turning right are leading to the Culver Line.  These tracks will go through the 38 th Street yard where they will meet the West End Line and lead to the lower level of the Ninth Avenue Station.  This photo is interesting because as shown in my previously posted track map of the Fifth Avenue Elevated, South Portion, you can see the lattice remains of the multi track 36th Street yard which was built on the elevated structure.  To the right of the former 36th Street Station is the present day Jackie Gleason Bus Garage, which formerly was a historic railroad building.   In the front of the photo are tracks of the Fifth Avenue Trolley Line.


  1. In an "alternate universe" Brooklyn (i have a thing for alternate universes) the only part of the fifth ave el was cut back from 65th street to 36th street in 1941 to make way for the new gowanus expressway.That 5th ave el and Fulton el would continue to operate up to 1956.that only portion of the Fulton street el was cut back to the flatbush ave ext from the sands street terminal in 1941.the sands street terminal was torn down in 1944.pinkin ave part of the Fulton street el in that universe continue operating until 1972-73.the Lexington el in that universe lasted till Manhattan the 6th ave and 9th ave elevateds lasted in service up
    until 1949-50 the second ave el 1956-57 and the third ave el 1965-66 the Bronx portion is still in operation now modernized and upgraded they didn't make the mistake of tearing it down.and the myrtle ave el in Brooklyn wasn't torn down is still in operation now modernized and upgraded.

    1. Hi Anonymous:
      I like your posting about "alternate universes". I sometimes think, if Mayor LaGardia was not anti-trolley and Robert Moses did not come along, and an anti-trolley Board of Transportation did not exist, what would our transit scene look today like? Would streetcars still exist on Church Avenue? Would some of the lighter bus routes be trolleybus operated. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, the period to reinstate streetcars and trolleybuses existed in New York from around 1971 to recently. Why 1971? This was the birth of the environmental movement. Now, with building costs high, battery power being perfected, there is less of a need for railed electric transit in the public's eye. You be surprised how anti-electric surface transit some rapid transit fans are. At any rate, New York does not have the destiny to have the things that we are interested in. Brooklyn did not get a new subway station since 1948 and the Bronx since the 1940's. We can always dream.
      Tramway Null(0).

  2. Theres a lot of under utilized freight railroad lines thru out NYC that could be repurposed for light rail use. all the infrastructure is in place that can be utilized.