Jun 15, 2018

Under the 3rd Avenue El at Chatham Square, New York

Under the 3rd Avenue El at Chatham Square, New York

1946, printed 1976

Todd Webb

(American, 1905–2000)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 16.3 x 21.3 cm (6 7/16 x 8 3/8 in.); Paper: 20.3 x 25.3 cm (8 x 9 15/16 in.)

Transfer from Ingalls Library 2016.638



With high urban density comes the need for public transportation. Chatham Square was part of the Bowery, New York City’s Skid Row in the 1940s and a major transportation hub for the Lower East Side. In a single image, Todd Webb captured the development of New York City’s transit network, ranging from the cobblestone street, trolley tracks, and automobiles to, above them, the metal girders of the Third Avenue Line train. All that is missing is the subway, which had replaced most elevated lines by the 1940s. In 1955 the Third Avenue El was the last elevated train to close.

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