8. Ninth Avenue El

9th Avenue Elevated9th Ave el’s “suicide curve” at 110th Street, 1896. Image from Library of Congress via Wikipedia 

The 9th Ave el was the first elevated railway in New York City opening on April 20, 1871. It was originally powered by steam locomotives, but in 1885, the Manhattan Railway Company added an electrified third rail making the 9th Ave el the city’s first electrified railway. At the height of its operation, the line spanned from Manhattan’s South Ferry all the way up to Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.

As the first elevated railway in the city, there were many other “firsts” associated with it, such as the first line to have three tracks which in turn allowed it to be the first train with express service. In 1918 that meant that express services would go directly from 125th street to 155th street.

Service on the 9th Ave el ended in 1940 in Manhattan since the  new A/C/E train on 8th Ave began running in 1932. Operation in the Bronx continued to run as the “Polo Grounds Shuttle” to Yankee Stadium, but shut down in 1958 when the New York Giants (baseball team) moved to San Francisco.