Eric Oszustowicz 372 pages softcover
Many New Yorkers rushing through the streets of Manhattan today are completely oblivious to the fact that at one time there was an extensive elevated railway system that traversed most of the island from the Battery through Midtown, Harlem and on into The Bronx and later into Queens. Certain narrow downtown streets, such as Pearl Street, were shrouded in darkness by the elevated structure, even on the sunniest of days. But without these elevated railways, it would not have been possible for New York City to develop as fast as it did. Development would have been delayed about 25 years until the first subways opened since there was no other way to move the massive crowds through the City. Partially due to the constant expansion of the underground subway lines and to a great extent real estate interests, the elevated lines that ran into southern Manhattan were all torn down from 1938 to 1955. Although New York has its own unique and extreme dynamism and is one of the great cities of the world, one could only wonder what New York would be like today if one or more of the elevated lines were still standing.