This is one of our favorite historical images. The West Side Cowboys were employed by the City to ride in front of street-level freight trains and wave pedestrians out of the way. This was the City's stopgap measure to stop the carnage on what was known as "Death Avenue." The Cowboys were phased out after the High Line was built, raising train traffic to the third story of industrial buildings. The cowboy above is from the 1930's, when the High Line was being built, and the structure is visible in the background. The cowboy below dates from 1911, before the High Line was a glimmer in its daddy's eye.
Photo from Shorpy.com
, the 100-Year-Old Photo Blog. Note the guy with the pegleg.
After the jump, the 1934 London Terrace Tatler
waxes eloquent about the Cowboys and their brave ponies.