A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 27, 2004
Death Avenue; Slaughter on Tenth Avenue
"Death Avenue" was the nickname of Eleventh Avenue, from about 1890. It got its name from New York Central train accidents. Previously, Fourth Avenue had been "Death Avenue."

"Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" (1936) is the famous ballet from the Rodgers and Hart musical On Your Toes.

More recently, Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn (near Avenue N) has been called "Death Avenue."

20 March 1872, New York Times, pg. 8:
Whatever the decision, there is now a prospect that before the close of the present year there will no longer be occasion for one of the central thoroughfares of the City to be called "Death-avenue.
(Fourth avenue -- ed.)

28 September 1874, New York Times, pg. 3:
With the final touch to this enterprise the name "death avenue" must necessarily become something only to be remembered, and the old familiar name of "Fourth avenue" will be resumed.

12 April 1872, New York Times, pg. 4:
In another column will be found the bill laid before the Assembly, yesterday, in relation to "Death-avenue, or VANDERBILT'S road.

2 September 1895, Boston Daily Globe, pg. 4:
One of the avenues of New York city is called "death avenue," from the fact that over 100 people are killed or injured annually by passing steam trains. It ought to be a desirable location for undertakers.

13 July 1907, New York Times, pg. 6:
The tracks have caused Eleventh Avenue to become known among the inhabitants of the district as "Death Avenue," owing to the large number of people that have been killed by trains.

24 September 1907, New York Times, pg. 5:
First steps toward the removal of the New York Central tracks on Eleventh Avenue, by condemnation proceedings, under the Saxe law, were taken yesterday by the Public Service Commission. The commission's action, though insignificant in itself, was taken as an indication of an intention to have the railroad tracks on what is known as "Death Avenue" torn up.

9 May 1910, New York Times, pg. 18:

Pastors All Over the City United
in Demanding That Central
Tracks Be Torn Up.


League Backing the Movement Hopes
City Officials Will Now Push Injunc-
tion Suit Before Court of Appeals

The officers of the league organized to do away with the tracks of the New York Central Railroad in Eleventh Avenue, which, owing to the number of deaths due to their presence, has come to be known as "Death Avenue," estimated last night that some 100,000 persons heard from the pulpits of this city yesterday sermons denouncing the conditions there.

15 July 1910, New York Times, pg. 16:

Fewer Mortal Accidents There Than
in Streets with Trolley Lines.

The Public Service Commission sent to Mayor Gaynor yesterday figures on the number of deaths and serious accidents which have been caused by the surface reailroad lines of the city in the last three years, showing that the so-called "Death Avenue" has not experienced as high an average mortality as other districts. The period taken includes the second six months of 1907, the years 1908 and 1909, and the first six months of this year. During this time thirty-nine persons were killed by the cars in Third Avenue and only twenty-one on the New York Central tracks on Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Avenues.

23 March 1936, New York Times, pg. 22:

Musical Show by Rodgers, Hart
and Abbott Pleases the Audi-
ence on Opening Night.
Sergei (Alexandrovitch - ed.) allowed himself, following the failure of a traditional Russian ballet, to be persuaded to put on "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," a modernistic ballet by Junior's friend and assistant. It was an enormous success, principally because Junior danced the leading part, and when it was all over Junior fell into the waiting arms of Frankie Frayne, a nice girl who wrote popular songs.

14 April 2005, New York Post, pg. 33:
Young Brooklyn woman
crushed on "Death Avenue"
The chain-reaction accident unfolded shortly before 9 a.m. on a dangerous stretch of Ocean Avenue near Avenue N that one resident described as "Death Avenue."
Posted by Barry Popik
Streets • Saturday, November 27, 2004 • Permalink

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