Virtually nothing today is as it was in 1957 in this photo taken from the 155th Street Viaduct looking north on 8th Avenue toward the Harlem River. In the foreground we see the last remnant of the 9th Avenue El. Most of the rest of the el had closed by 1942 with the exception of this small section. Beginning in the 1860s, the el had rumbled up Greenwich Street, 9th Avenue, West 110th, and 8th Avenue, crossing the Harlem River with two station stops in the Bronx at Sedgwick and Jerome-Anderson Avenues before merging with the Woodlawn-bound el at River Avenue just north of Yankee Stadium, actually entering a tunnel briefly because of Bronx topography.
That short stub of an el survived to bring National League fans to the Polo Grounds, seen behind the el. It was the last in a series of ballparks and athletic grounds named for the Sport of Kings, which was actually played here at one time. The last Polo Grounds, constructed in 1911, was home to the New York Baseball Giants until 1957 and to the New York Yankees in the 1910s and 1920s before, of course, the first Yankee Stadium opened in 1923. When the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958 the Amazing Mets took over the joint, losing an incredible number of games here during the 1962 and 1963 seasons until Shea Stadium in Queens was finished (the Mets have played in three boroughs, the Yankees four, with only Staten Island excepted).
The el stub, though, was razed after the 1957 season. There had been a free transfer from the IND 155th Street Station, which served the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium from two consecutive stops (155th and 161st).
In the early 1960s the Polo Grounds Houses rose to take the place of the ballpark, and 8th Avenue was renamed Frederick Douglass Boulevard in the 1980s.