With great sadness, I regret to inform my readers of the passing on September 29, 2016 of Kit Davidson, Director and Producer of “3RD AVE EL.”  I find myself fortunate to have interviewed him for this blog a few months before his death.  Please see my post above for a review of his film; I compared it to Roshomon!  This news was sent along to me by Mr. Joseph Frank, former police officer, who found my stories about THE LOST LINE.

You see, Joe grew up by the 3rd Avenue El and recently found my web site due to his interest in elevated trains.  Specifically, he is from the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan — where I live — which is an old German and Hungarian enclave from the 20th century.

To be sure, the neighborhood has changed since the 3rd Avenue El was discontinued and taken down in 1955.  My Mom and Dad both told me their 3rd Avenue stories.  Dad loved the El as a way to cool off, riding between the cars on torrid summer evenings, on his way to and from PJ Clarke’s.  Mom loved to go antiquing in the myriad of shops under the tracks.


My Mom and I at PJ Clarke’s.  Under the El.  60 years later!

If the El hadn’t been dismantled, I would have used the 84th Street Station.  Want to know what it looked like?

Please enjoy these pictures of that station and don’t neglect Joe’s website dedicated to NYC transit and authentic model trains: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44268069@N00.

W. to 3AV EL Uptown E.84St EL Station-1954

Joe’s picture of the uptown station (no free transfer from uptown to downtown) from 84th Street in 1955, looking west towards Third.  The building on the right, with the domed windows, is still there today.  Photo by Lothar Stelter.  

0613c-SB E.849St Local STA-3AV EL-8-1955

The entrance to the 84th Street Station.  Get your token ready…

0610k-Interiior to platform area-NB E.84St Lcl STA-3AV EL-1952

The luxurious lobby.  Maybe not so luxurious.  Note the pot belly stove where you could warm your hands by the fire before going through the turnstiles!

84th Street Station 2

Looking south at a Northbound train.  Note the Morgan Manhattan Storage Company building on 80th Street in the distance.  After the El was torn down, a remaining portion of the line in the Bronx was designated as the 8 train.  Back in the day, the 3rd Ave line needed no such designation!

N on 3AV EL SB platform-E.84St STA-1955

Looking north from the same point.

84th Street Station

1955 compared to 2015, from the same spot (more or less).  Both images looking northwest from the east side of 3rd Avenue, just south of East 84th Street.  Note the red and white brick tenement buildings in both shots.

Where could you go on the El?  A complete station listing can be found on Wikipedia.

My gratitude to Joe Frank for his historical pictures.


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