Polo Grounds Shuttle, NYC.


From the street, you'd never guess this building was once the base of an elevated subway station.
The platform is all that remains.
Looking east. The strange block on the platform was an entrance/exit.
This wall is where the tunnel behind it is sealed.
At the opposite end of the tunnel is an old subway station which used to connect to the NYC putnam line, also abandoned
Here again, at the end of the platform, the tunnel is sealed with thick concrete.



On a warm winter morning we set off to find one of the few structures originally built as part of an intricate network of elevated subways, and it wasn't too hard to find in the hilly streets of the Bronx.

A seemingly unknown fact to many today is that throughout much of the later 1800s and early 1900s many city streets had bridges over them - 'els', as we call them. These els separate foot traffic on the streets below from rail traffic high above. At the time of their construction there were no subways under the streets, so they played a vital roll in transporting people across the quickly growing city.

There were no electric powered trains, either, thus steam engines would rattle down these tracks, spewing smoke and apparently occasionally leaking oil to soak anyone unfortunate enough to be walking under the tracks at that time in a filthy coat of grime (Many of these lines were eventually electrified).

Els were apparently blamed for crime below them, as they blocked out sunlight, as well as a cast of other ills, thus when the age of the automobile set in, some were all too willing to see them go. (This is a bit of an oversimplification, but you get the idea).

One of these elevated lines ran up what is today 9th avenue. It ran up the west side, and across at 155th street where the 'polo grounds' stadium once stood. From there it came across the river on a bridge (which is now gone), ducked under some of the streets of the Bronx as a tunnel, and reemerged on the other side of the hill to link up with what is today the #4 subway through the Bronx (elevated lines still exist outside of Manhattan, and there are no current plans to remove them - as they are all, for the most part, used extensively by commuters have no other real commuting options).

While much of the 9th av. elevated was torn down, a short section from the polo grounds, via the tunnel and connection to the 4 train, survived until 1958. The city gave this statement for shutting it down:

"we regret the dwindling patronage, particularly result from the departure of the Giants (who played at the polo grounds) and the ending of passenger service on the Central's (New york central - predecessor to today's Metro North Commuter service (freight went to conrail, then CSX) Putnam Division completes this discontinuance.

Today, all that remains are the 2 stations. on either end of the tunnel. The tunnel itself was sealed up in the first half of 2001, as local residents and the area FDNY units pushed for it to be sealed. Apparently homeless people and area kids took to going into the tunnel, some setting small rubbish fires. Without good ventilation, these fires became a burden the fire command rightly felt could be avoided. Word is they used one of the cherry-picker type trucks to bring politicians and the like up to the tunnel via the jerome av. end, to convince them it needed to be sealed.

And seal it they did.

All that is left within easy access are the 2 platforms. The rest lays as a sealed tomb. The grave of the mighty Manhattan elevated's, of sorts.