Old New York In Photos #123 – 110th St. Elevated Curve

The 110th Street Elevated Curve of the Ninth Avenue Elevated c. 1905

Elevated train on curve at 110th Street New York City photo: Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California, RiversideWe see here the dramatic 110th Street “suicide” curve of the El at Eighth Avenue (Central Park West) from around 1905. From this vantage point a great view of the city could be had for the price of the El’s fare – a nickel.

Above 53rd Street the Sixth and Ninth Avenue Elevated lines combined their tracks to run along Ninth Avenue. When the tracks reached 110th Street, they turned east on to Eighth Avenue  continuing into Harlem.

The “S” shape curve was set at a dizzying 60 feet above street level to reach the plateau of Harlem Heights at an acceptable grade.

John W. Ambrose was in charge of the men building this section of the elevated in 1879.

map 110th St curve

Ambrose told a New York Herald reporter, “At 110th Street and Eighth Avenue we had to drill forty feet deep through the rock and each of the sixty piers on the 110th Street curve required not less than 55,000 bricks.”

The Ninth Avenue El service was discontinued June 11, 1940.

The Albert A. Volk Company won the contract to remove the Elevated from the Battery to the Polo Grounds (155th Street). The Volk Company was paid the astonishingly low price of $74,433 for what was expected to be a six month undertaking.

On October 7 demolition began. By November 8 two large cranes and 100 men reached the famous elevated curve and began taking apart the structure. On January 22, 1941 the final posts of the El at Greenwich and Cortlandt Streets came down.

The Ninth Avenue Elevated was gone forever.

Demolition Ninth Avenue El Manhattan at 110th Street November 22 1940 number 2 photo Norvin H Green NYHS

Demolition Ninth Avenue El Manhattan at 110th Street November 22, 1940 photo: Norvin H Green NYHS

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