In 1847, NYC authorized street-level railroad tracks in the West Side. For safety, the railroads hired men, the "West Side Cowboys", to ride horses and wave flags in front of the trains. Due to many accidents between trains and cars 10th Ave became known as "Death Avenue".After years of debate about the hazards the city and NY State agreed on the major improvements which included the High Line.The 13-mile line eliminated 105 railroad crossings and added 32 acres to Riverside Park. It was designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to avoid the drawbacks of elevated subways. It connected directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods could be transported and unloaded without disturbing traffic on the streets. The growth of interstate trucking in the 1950s led to a drop in rail traffic throughout the nation.The last train ran in 1980 with 3 carloads of frozen turkeys.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography