Two of Vivian Cherry's strongest photo essays are Riding the Third Avenue El and Tearing Down the Third Avenue El, both done in the early 1950s. To any New Yorker over the age of fifty-five, the elevated train line that ran the length of Third Avenue in Manhattan, until it was demolished in 1955, was the most romantic way to view Manhattan. Not so for the people who lived and operated businesses under it. Third Avenue folk lived in shade all year around and the shriek of the train wheels went on day and night for anyone buildings facing Third Avenue were treated to an unconventional view of East Side family and business life for more than one hundred and twenty years. New York City Guide produced by the Federal Writers Project in 1939 suggested Harlem, Tudor City, the Bowery and Chinatown, dingy sweat shops, flophouses, intimate glimpses of family life, glittering rivers and skyscrapers at dusk. Its demolition brought whole neighborhoods onto the Sidewalk to watch in wonder and finally delight.
-Barbara Head Millstein
Curator of photographs, Brooklyn Museum of Art.



Cherry's gallery of the 3rd Ave EL_1
color 1990's
B&W 2000's
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