9. Sixth Avenue El

6th ave el-greenwich village-nyc subway6th Ave el by Jefferson Market Courthouse in Greenwich Village, October 1935. Photo by Berenice Abbott from New York Public Library via Wikimedia Commons 

Operation of the 6th Ave el, or Metropolitan Elevated Railway began June 5, 1878 with service from Church Street up to 58th Street with all stops on 6th Avenue. The cars on this line were painted a pea green color and cost 10 cents to ride in one of the finer cars at the time. This train ran until 1938 with demolition starting as early as August 11, 1924, with the IND line moving underground. The Fulton Elevated Line at the time was also in use, and in order to keep that particular line running and expedite the construction of the IND, the 6th Ave el needed to go.

There is some controversy surrounding where the metal of the demolished 6th Ave el went. There was speculation that the metal was being sold to Japan (remember some of the demolition occurred during World War II). The New York Times reported in 1938 that 20,000 tons of steel could “ultimately take the form of explosive shells raining down from Japanese bombers on a Chinese city.” But the Chairman of the Board of Transportation at the time, John H. Delaney, and former Borough President Stanley M. Isaacs both denied the shipping of the steel to Japan.