Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Manhattan Ghost Town, a "sunken corridor"

When I was a teacher at the pink school in the above photo, the low area in the photo was just simply called "the train tracks." I used to tell people that there were days the teachers and students had to walk over dead bodies to get into the school. I was often misunderstood. My listeners believed that I was telling them in some obtuse way that corpses blocked the entrance to the school. That was not the case. The bodies were found as they lay forgotten along these railroad tracks. They were often discovered by some "hobo" or other "drifter" as they wandered along these winding paths rummaging with long sticks through the piles of debris that were strewn along the way.

These days the "sunken corridor" exists in stark contrast to the much discussed more southern "highline." These tracks are between 10th and 11th Avenues and are visible on both 44th and 45th Street through the cracks of the silver fences. I looked north and I looked south through those openings, and I took photos of this amazing sight last year. I was even able to catch a shot of a train down below as it traveled south and whizzed by under the overpass on which I was standing. But, the photo could not be developed for some bizarre technical reasons. They are totally blank.
I returned the next day and took more photos, but unfortunately no train passed through. After waiting for quite some time for another locomotive photo op, I was told by a young teacher exiting the school that no trains even use those tracks any longer. I was confused, but I relished my eery moment and I left with a great sense of glee: my wonderful shot of that "phantom train" will now exist only in my memory as it sped quickly south on a rainy Thursday afternoon. It carried invisible passengers to some unknown downtown destination in... "The Twilight Zone."
Please enjoy these photos of the "sunken corridor" which still sits on a vista that now resembles a forgotten and neglected and worn out Manhattan ghost town.

These tracks pass from a "sunken corridor" to the famous "highline" as they stretch south through Manhattan.

That day, I visited the Allen Sheppard Gallery on West 25th Street and viewed the amazing photos of this highline by James Bleeker. And here is my photo of the highline that I took on West 25th Street as I left the gallery.

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