Sixth Avenue Extension – Before & After

A New York times article from 1899 detailed two options for the proposed extension; the route portrayed with the dashed lines was implemented nearly 30 years later

At last week’s Edward Hopper panel, speaker Linda Yowell’s dramatic slides of the destruction caused by the 1917 extension of Seventh Avenue elicited great interest from the crowd. We thought it would be fun to follow up with some before-and-after shots of the extension of Sixth Avenue, which began in 1925. In conjunction with the construction of the IND (A,C,E) subway line, the work extended Sixth Avenue from it’s then-southern terminus at Carmine Street down to Canal Street, destroying hundreds of buildings in the process. The photos that follow were taken in 1930 and are courtesy of the Borough President’s Collection at the New York City Department of Records. It’s pretty mind-boggling to think that even five years after the work began, there was still so much rubble present.

Sixth Avenue being extended from Carmine to Canal Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo below shows the intersection of Sixth Avenue at Bleecker Street, looking north up the Avenue toward the elevated train that used to veer east on West 3rd Street. What used to be Max Moscowitz’s is today an American Apparel.

Looking north from Bleecker Street up Sixth Avenue

Here the view is south from around that same spot; Max Moscowitz’s is now on the left.

Looking South on Sixth Avenue at Bleecker Street and beyond

Only a few buildings are recognizable in the photo below, taken from Houston Street looking south on Sixth Avenue. The Federal-style building on the right side with the peaked roof is 15 King Street, part of the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District.

Looking south on Sixth Avenue from Houston Street

The following photo was taken from the Butterick building at the corner of Spring Street.

Looking from Spring Street south along Sixth Avenue

Same intersection, different angle. The clearance in the foreground is where God’s Love We Deliver now stands, with the entrance to the subway station.

Looking from Spring Street south along Sixth Avenue

Not much is recognizable in the photo below, taken from Watts Street looking south on Sixth Avenue, except the side of the old-law tenement on the left.

View south along Sixth Avenue from Watts Street

Looking up Sixth Avenue from Grand Street, it’s hard to believe all of that rubble was once buildings.

Looking north up Sixth Avenue from Grand Street

Here’s the view looking north from Canal Street.

Looking north up Sixth Avenue from Canal Street

On September 18th, 1930, the City held a parade for the official opening of the Sixth Avenue extension. Notice in the photo below that the IFC Film Center was still a church at that point (you can still see the building’s peaked roof if you look closely at it today).

Opening Day parade on Sixth Avenue


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avatar Brian Blazak is a research intern at GVSHP