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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sixth Avenue Streetcar (Manhattan) 1919-1933 Track Map

Source:  Linder, B.  "Sixth Avenue 1919-1933", In New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association, Vol. 30, Number 11, November, 1987.  pp.4-5.

An explanation regarding this interesting map will be given in the future. Approx. Dates:  Horsecar 1852, Conversion to Electricity, in stages, 1898.  Replaced by buses, March 12, 1936.

  Sixth Avenue in Manhattan is an interesting street regarding urban transit.  It was one of the few streets in the city, such as Fulton Street in Brooklyn and parts of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn that had the three types of electric urban transportation, namely electric streetcar service, elevated and then later subway service. The streetcar service on Sixth Avenue was conduit driven, like most Manhattan streetcars.  The Sixth Avenue Subway was built as the Independent Subway while el service was still in operation.  I believe Sixth Avenue El service stopped in the late 30's while the Sixth Avenue Subway openned in the early 1940's.  Notice on the map below that Sixth Avenue trolley service ends at 3rd Street and curves to the left to West Broadway.  Sixth Avenue or "Avenue of the Americas" was extended south by getting rid of old buildings and making a new street as the IND subway was being built.  I think the Sixth Avenue El took the same path as the Sixth Avenue streetcar.  Currently, Avenue of the Americas ends to the south near White Street. Also note, that the path of the Sixth Avenue streetcar downtown on Fulton Street between West Broadway and Church Street is right at the former "World Trade Center" and the area is now being redeveloped with new skyscrappers.  Sixth Avenue was so much different than Fifth Avenue, it's neighbor one block to the east.  The Sixth Avenue El had entrances to 19th Century Department Stores at selected stations while Fifth Avenue was so anti rapid transit, no streetcar line ever ran on the street.  In fact, when it came to build IND or BMT subway entrances on Fifth Avenue, it was decided to place the entrances and laterns out of sight of the Fifth Avenue building line because they did not want to mar the beauty of Fifth Avenue with having the indignity of having a subway entrance in view!  But the Fifth Avenue retail establishments enjoyed the customers arriving by subway for sales that were generated. 

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