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The el was part of the neighborhood, like arteries pumping the life-blood of people on the move.Even with its rattles and screeches the elevated had special charm, from its gingerbread style stations and stained glass windows to its quaint pot-bellied stoves and wooden turnstiles.Courtlandt Avenue, called Dutch Broadway in the early 1800s, was the main street in the villages of Melrose and Melrose South (after a Sir Walter Scott novel, “Melrose Abbey”: surveyor Andrew Findlay was a Scot).There was an early German presence in the villages, hence the name “Dutch Broadway”, for Deutsch, the German term for their native language.The framework for the dome of the United States Capitol was cast here, and Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Flegenheimer ran his speakeasy ring from a command post on East 149th.This building on Willis Avenue looks like it may have once been a theatre, but, the go-to source, doesn’t list it.The skeletal structure cast its mysterious shadows; a criss-cross, spider web pattern to the cobblestone street below. It was complemented by the buildings along the route distinctive in their appearance with brick and ornate masonry, fire escapes, signs on the stores, water tanks on the roofs, and of course the cast-iron bishop’s crooks lampposts lining the sidewalks. Think of a detective yarn or a dark, brooding plot from a film noir and the stage is set.It is a street scene with character, with a personality all its own; a Bronx scene.

The stretch between Grand Concourse and Bergen Avenue is home to a number of office buildings dating to the mid-1920s.Top: Third Avenue; bottom: East 149th and Melrose Avenue.The glass-enclosed structure at bottom right is an elevator to the Third Avenue-East 149th Street subway station.The route of Third Avenue between the Bronx Kill at Bruckner Blvd.