The Second Avenue El
The New York Public Library’s digital gallery contains some fun photos of the Second Avenue elevated train, which began operation in 1880 and cast shadows upon the street for more than 60 years.
We know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this a photo of First Avenue?
Yes indeed. Despite its name, the elevated actually ran along First Avenue from Houston Street up through the East Village before veering off to Second Avenue at 23rd Street, as shown on this 1906 IRT map.
The elevated was taken down in 1942. All photos that follow, which portray the demolition, are courtesy of the New York Public Library:
For more on our East Village research, visit our preservation page.