Jeff Market: El Finale
While Gotham is in the grip of a worrisome transit strike, Old Jeff recalls the last week of railway service on the 6th Avenue Elevated Train in 1938: El Finale. Meanwhile, a New York reporter who had covered the courts in 1936 describes Greenwich Village during the Depression.
New York City Below Forty-Second Street, 1936
Now, what shall I say of Greenwich Village?
• • 'What,' asks Will Irwin, 'would you say now if I, who have frequented Greenwich Village for twenty-two years, pronounced this Greenwich Village a myth? At least, it was a myth in the beginning. Afterward a little commercial exploitation made it for a time almost a reality. And then - it faded back into the ghostly world of fancy.... The true story centers around a real-estate scheme which had a success wholly unexpected - both in volume and in character.'
• • Greenwich Village (of course, you know it's called Grenidge) is, next to the Battery, the oldest settlement of white men on Manhattan. . . .
• • . . . At the junction of Sixth Avenue and Greenwich Avenue and 10th Street, is the famous old Jefferson Market Police Court, with a tall new Women's House of Detention in the rear. Many an evening I spent there when the Women's Night Court was held here and I was writing about the girl problem.
• • Those were the days of `willow plumes,' which cost quite prodigiously. Not to flaunt a willow plume was to be unendurably `low-caste.' And the way of the willow plume, for many low-paid girls, led to the Night Court. . . .
• • [author unknown - a New Yorker's remembrance from 1936]
• • Photo: 6th Avenue El passes Jefferson Market during its final week of service 1938
New York Public Library