8. There was a Death Avenue in Chelsea
Prior to the construction of the High Line‘s elevated tracks, the New York Central freight line ran at street level, giving the stretch of Tenth and Eleventh Avenues the nickname Death Avenue. The moniker comes from the consistent and often fatal incidence of trains colliding with people along the busy thoroughfare. The street-level tracks were used to ship commodities such as coal, beef, and dairy products.
Before the trains were elevated, the New York Central Railroad hired men on horseback armed with red flags to ride in front of the trains to signal their arrival. They came to be known as The West Side Cowboys. However, such cowboys were unable to prevent many further disasters, with some estimates revealing well over 500 deaths just along Eleventh Avenue over the years. The West Side Improvement Project, developed by Robert Moses, eliminated 105 street-level railroad crossings and ultimately expanded Riverside Park.