Vanderbilt expanded the New York and Harlem Railroad tracks to 4 when he constructed the Grand Central Depot o accommodate its busy schedule. The grade level tracks not a problem when this part of the city was fairly rural. Needless to say, as the area got more congested and the Railroad began to run as many as 80 trains a day, the situation changed. Not only was Fourth Avenue very noisy, but it was covered with steam and cinders from the trains' engines. There were many accidents to the point that Vanderbilt was accused of bribing the coroners office to conceal the number of deaths. Neighbors convened many protest meetings were called for covering the tracks. Vanderbilt's first inclination was to build fences which were not that effective. The situation was at an impass until the protesters discovered that the original agreement with the city permitted closing the rail line if it interfered with ordinary use of the streets. Costing $6 million, a trench was created below 56th that depressed the train tracks. It was covered by a series of planted platforms to allow for ventilation. This enabled Fourth Avenue to become a desirable residential location attracting such notables as Edith Wharton. After the electric trains were buried underground, a new Terminal opened and the area around Park Avenue in its vicinity was developed into prime real estate called Terminal City

Created, 1811
Founded, 1831

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