Passengers enjoy a rare 360-degree view of the city from an open flatcar on the soon-to-disappear Third Avenue elevated subway line. The special wooden coach train, carrying jubilant members of the Joint Rail Fan Committee, an amateur group with a love for trains, is leaving the 14th Street station, March 30, 1947. In the background are the Empire State Building, to the left, and the Chrysler Building, in the distance to the right. split Third Avenue subway ridership was declining steadily, and elevated railways, at least in Manhattan, were seen as a thing of the past. So down they went: Sixth Avenue in 1938, Ninth Avenue in 1940 and Second Avenue in 1942. Third Avenue was the last of the borough's four fully elevated train lines. It rode into the history books on May 12, 1955."Yet despite this and other death knells, the El is far from gone," reporter Sewell Chan wrote in The Times in 2005. "It rumbles over the streets of Inwood in Upper Manhattan, in University Heights and Pelham Bay in the Bronx, in Bensonhurst and Bushwick in Brooklyn, in Middle Village and Woodside in Queens."The article continued: "This urban survivor continues to be threaded through the city's life. For those who use it, live and work near it, or keep it from falling apart, the El is neither a scourge upon the city nor a touchstone for nostalgia. It simply is."