60th Street Railyard

60th Street Railyard
9/2/2001 01:33 PM
60th Street Railyard

New York City is surrounded by water - which makes it difficult for rail freight to get around the city. Although there are three sets of rail tunnels between New York City and New Jersey, they are used exclusively for passenger service and the nearest freight crossing of the Hudson is 140 miles north in Albany. During the heyday of rail transportation in the early 20th century, railroads got around this problem by transporting rail cars on ferries between the various port and industrial facilities around the five boroughs and New Jersey. One such transfer facility was the 60th Street Rail Yard on the Hudson River between West 72nd and 59th streets in Manhattan.

Railyard ca. 1960s (City Planning Commission)
1960
Railyard ca. 1960s (City Planning Commission)

With the rise of long-distance trucking after World War II and the move of most port activity to new containerized facilities in New Jersey, activity at rail transportation facilities in New York City began to decline. Accordingly, the 60th Street Rail Yard was abandoned in 1976 when Conrail was created from the remnants of the country's failed rail companies.

Map ca. 1990
Map ca. 1990

In the late 90's Donald Trump overcame considerable community opposition to begin developing the barren 60th Street Rail Yard (the last large area of undeveloped real estate in Manhattan) into the Riverside South housing development. Part of the agreement with the city involved creation of a park along the Hudson river. In 2001, sections of the park with a bike path opened to the public and there have been progressive improvements to the park since.

Photos of the park, remnants of the railyard and the Riverside South development are included in this section.


Piers

Southern Railyard

Riverside South

Miller Highway

For more information on the Hudson River Railroad and the 60th Street Rail Yard (a.k.a. New York Central Rail Yards), see the following links:

A 1934 Booklet on the West Side Improvement
A higher resolution copy of the 1934 booklet
An excellent photo tour of the riverfront viewed from the river
The Henry Hudson Parkway (that runs through Riverside Park)
The High Line freight line on the West Side
Ferries
The Hudson River Railroad

Scale model of Manhattan (and the rail yard) at the Queens Museum
3/30/2007 03:47 PM
Scale model of Manhattan (and the rail yard) at the Queens Museum