Avenue C Line (Manhattan)

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The Avenue C Line, also called the Houston Street Line, is a public transit line in Manhattan, New York City, United States, running mostly along Houston Street and Avenue C from TriBeCa to Kips Bay. Originally a streetcar line, it has now become parts of the M9 and M21 bus routes, operated by the New York City Transit Authority. This bus is based out of Michael J. Quill Depot.


The Avenue C Railroad (changed to the Houston, West Street and Pavonia Ferry Railroad in the early 1880s) was chartered June 3, 1874, and opened the Avenue C Line on October 18, 1869, connecting the Pavonia Ferry at the foot of Chambers Street with the Green Point Ferry at the foot of East 10th Street.[1] Its route ran along West Street, a one-way pair of Charlton Street, Prince Street, and Stanton Street (eastbound) and Houston Street, 1st Avenue, and 3rd Street (westbound), Pitt Street/Avenue C, and 10th Street. By 1879, the line had been extended north on Avenue C from 10th Street, west on 17th Street (eastbound) and 18th Street (westbound), north over the Central Park, North and East River Railroad (First Avenue and East Belt Line) on Avenue A, 23rd Street, and 1st Avenue, west on 35th Street (westbound) and 36th Street (eastbound), north on Lexington Avenue, and west on 42nd Street to Grand Central Terminal. The Third Avenue Railroad also used the trackage on 42nd Street by 1884.[2]

On November 29, 1893, the Houston, West Street and Pavonia Ferry Railroad was merged into the Metropolitan Street Railway. The line was cut back to Avenue A at 24th Street by 1907; the trackage on 35th and 36th Streets was removed, while the other trackage became parts of the Lexington Avenue Line and 42nd Street Crosstown Line.

Buses were substituted for streetcars in September 1919. Service was suspended, but brought back in March 1929 by the Hamilton Bus Company. The Triangle Bus Corporation took over in 1935, and the New York City Omnibus Corporation acquired the route in 1940. That company changed its name to Fifth Avenue Coach Lines in 1956; the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority took over operations in 1962.


  1. ^ New York Times, The New Railroad from River to River, October 16, 1869
  2. ^ New York Times, Street Car Lines at Law, September 9, 1884