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 May 29, 2005
Ghost Yard (207th Street maintenance yard)
The MTA's 207th Street maintenance yard on the West Side of Manhattan is known as the "ghost yard," for varying reasons.

The Ghost Yard also known as the 207th street Repair Shop is located on 10th Avenue between 207th and 215th streets in upper Manhattan overlooking the Harlem River. It is one of the largest yards in New York City. It is also one of the MTAs two major maintenance facilities. Housed in the yard are many lines includings As, 1s, 3s, 5s, 2s. The Ghost Yard got its name from countless rumors of haunting sounds coming from the yard. An explanation for the sounds might be sounds echoing off the river. A more probable route of the yard's name is the fact that it is the former location for The Nagel Burial Ground. By the 1920s the grounds had fallen into neglect. Much to the dismay of descendants of those buried, The Board of Transportation transferred the remains to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where a monument stands to represent the 417 bodies exhumed.

In the mid and late 1980s this yard became a marked territory. Writers not associated with the dominant crews were vulnerable to robbery and beatings. The Ghost Yard was the birthplace for many legendary works.

Getting Up:
Subway Graffiti in New York
by Craig Castleman
Cambridge MA: The MIT Press

Pg. 50:
The only yard in the city that almost all writers seem to avoid is the 207th Street maintenance yard on the West Side of Manhattan, known to nearly every writer as "the Ghost Yard." The GHost Yard would seem to be an ideal place to write graffiti since trains of all sorts are stored there in large numbers and the yard is accessible by climbing over a relatively low wall. The writers, however, tend to avoid it. Stories of the origins of the yard's nickname and its bad reputation vary greatly. Caz says that it is inhabited by the ghost of a writer who was killed there one night by yardmen and was "buried beneath the tracks." Kade has gone to the yard with the intetion of writing but left when he heard "terrible screams, a dying woman's screams," emanating from the work sheds. Candy's explanation of the yard's name is far less dramatic. She says that the name is derived from the ghostly piles of salt that are stocked there every winter for use in melting ice and that workers there look like ghosts because "they're all white from the salt."

28 March 2004, New York Times, City section 14, pg. 11:
In the beginning we hit the trains that were close to the Bronx, the number trains. Then we discovered the ghost yard up in Manhattan where trains went for repair. All the trains were there, including the letter trains. We snuck in through the back and painted all day. A train might wait a week before it got repaired, so we had time. We could hit 200 trains a day. We took turns to look out for officials or other graffiti artists who might paint over us.
At the ghost yard we explored new styles, and we also painted characters.
Posted by Barry Popik
Names/Phrases • Sunday, May 29, 2005 • Permalink

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