BMT Lexington Avenue Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Lexington Avenue Elevated (also called the Lexington Avenue Line) was the first standard elevated railway in Brooklyn, New York, operated in its later days by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, and then the City of New York.

The original line, as it existed at the end of 1885, traveled from Fulton Ferry in Downtown Brooklyn east to East New York, passing over York Street, turning right onto Hudson Avenue (the relevant section is now called Navy Street), left onto Park Avenue, right onto Grand Avenue (which has now been fragmented), left onto Lexington Avenue, right onto Broadway, and slight left onto Fulton Street. The structure above Broadway and Fulton Street is now part of the BMT Jamaica Line. East of Alabama Avenue in East New York, the original structure still exists (albeit reinforced), and is the oldest such structure in the subway system.[citation needed]

History[edit]

The Brooklyn Elevated Railroad opened the line to passengers at 16:00 on May 13, 1885, with a five-cent fare[1] for trains every five minutes.[2] The original line ran from York and Washington Streets (near the Brooklyn Bridge) along York Street, Hudson Avenue, Park Avenue, Grand Avenue, Lexington Avenue, and Broadway to Gates Avenue. The three stations on Park Avenue had island platforms, while all the other stations had two side platforms.[3]

The first extension, east to Manhattan Beach Crossing in East New York, named for the crossing of the Manhattan Beach Division of the Long Island Rail Road, opened at 09:00 on June 14, 1885. Arrangements were made with the LIRR for joint tickets to Manhattan Beach, as well as with the Grand Street, Prospect Park and Flatbush Railroad (Franklin Avenue Line of streetcars) and Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island Railway (Brighton Beach Line) to Brighton Beach. Other connections at East New York included the Long Island Rail Road towards the east, the Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach Railroad (Canarsie Line), and the New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway Railroad. Shops, car houses, and other facilities were located at East New York, where the New York City Subway's East New York Yard still stands.[4]

On September 5, 1885, the line was extended one more station to Alabama Avenue near the Howard House, a union station for the steam and horse railroads into East New York.[5] Another east terminal at Van Siclen Avenue was opened on December 3, 1885, with the structure above Fulton Street extending east two more blocks to Schenck Street. After a half day of infrequent service, trains began serving the new station on a regular schedule the next morning.[6][7]

Several weeks before the line was completed to Van Siclen Avenue, the western terminal at Fulton Ferry was opened at noon on November 11, 1885. This portion of the line was built above York Street to just shy of the bridge, where it turned northwest parallel to the bridge, not turning back west under the bridge until Plymouth Street at the East River.[8] That same day, a covered walkway above Washington Street[9] from the inbound platform[10] of the York and Washington Streets station to the Brooklyn Bridge was opened.[11]

The Brooklyn Elevated leased the newer Union Elevated Railroad, which had yet to run a train, on May 13, 1887.[12][13] However, the two companies, despite sharing large portions of their lines, remained technically separate, commonly called the "Brooklyn and Union Elevated Railroads",[14][15][16] until they merged in October 1890 and kept the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad name.[13][17]

On April 10, 1888, the Union Elevated opened the first piece of the Myrtle Avenue Elevated, from Adams Street at City Hall east over Myrtle Avenue to Grand Avenue, where it junctioned with the Brooklyn Elevated. The company operated through to the end of the Brooklyn Elevated at Van Siclen Avenue.[18] Another branch operated by the Union Elevated, the Broadway Elevated from Gates Avenue northwest to Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, opened on June 25, 1888.[19] This was extended to Broadway Ferry on July 14, 1888.[20] The Myrtle Avenue Elevated was extended north over Adams Street to Sands Street at the Brooklyn Bridge on September 1, 1888, and the Union Elevated began running between Sands Street and Van Siclen Avenue.[21] The Union Elevated opened the Hudson Avenue Elevated, a branch of the Brooklyn Elevated from the intersection of Hudson and Park Avenues south to the Long Island Rail Road's Flatbush Avenue terminal, on November 5, 1888, and began operating between Fulton Ferry and Flatbush Avenue.[9]

Another piece of the Myrtle Avenue Elevated, from the crossing of the Brooklyn Elevated at Grand Avenue east to Broadway, opened on April 27, 1889. Trains on this route did not cross the line on Grand Avenue, but turned onto Grand Avenue and used the Brooklyn Elevated to Fulton Ferry.[22] Simultaneously, the original Brooklyn Elevated route via Lexington Avenue to Fulton Ferry was discontinued, with all Lexington Avenue trains running over Myrtle Avenue to the Brooklyn Bridge, and passengers for the ferry required to transfer at Myrtle Avenue station via several stairways.[23]

Effective December 9, 1889, a new service pattern went into effect, in which the structure above Park Avenue and its three stations, two of them located one long block north of Myrtle Avenue stations, was closed. Myrtle Avenue trains, which had used this structure since April 27, instead continued along Myrtle Avenue to Hudson Avenue, turning north there via a new junction into the Hudson Avenue Elevated, closed north of Myrtle Avenue since shortly after it opened due to safety concerns with the at-grade crossing at Myrtle Avenue. Thus passengers transferring between the two lines could get out at Navy Street and simply enter the next train on the other route.[16] The company continued to operate one daily train, closed to passengers, over Park Avenue, "to satisfy, it is thought, legal requirements", according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.[24]

The structure above Park Avenue, closed to passengers since late 1889, was finally removed in late 1891. The New York State Board of Railroad Commissioners approved its abandonment on late December 1891,[25][26] and removal soon began of the entire portion in Park Avenue, from the Hudson Avenue Elevated east to Grand Avenue, as well as the portion above Grand Avenue north of the Myrtle Avenue Elevated.[citation needed] This was the only part of the New York City elevated system to be permanently closed without ever having been electrified.[citation needed] By August 9, 1900, the rest of the line was electrified with third rail.[27]

An extension of the Brooklyn Elevated east to Cypress Hills, over Fulton Street and Crescent Street, opened on May 30, 1893, and the Brooklyn Union Elevated extended both Lexington Avenue Line and Broadway Line trains to the new terminal.[28] This extension incorporated portions of the old structure over Park Avenue.[29]

The original Brooklyn Elevated over Hudson Avenue and York Street to Fulton Ferry, only used by Myrtle Avenue Elevated trains after 1889, was closed on April 11, 1904.[citation needed]

The last Lexington Avenue train ran at 21:00 on October 13, 1950, with a small celebration, 65 years after the line opened. Transportation Commissioner G. Joseph Minetti joked that "if we had this many passengers riding regularly we wouldn't have to shut it down." Demolition began on November 1.

Service patterns[edit]

The original service pattern was a single line from Fulton Ferry to East New York. On April 27, 1889, all Lexington Avenue trains began using the Myrtle Avenue Elevated to Sands Street at the Brooklyn Bridge, while the old portion above Park Avenue, Hudson Avenue, and other streets to Fulton Ferry became part of the outer Myrtle Avenue service.[23] The Park Avenue structure was last used on December 8, 1889,[16] but Myrtle Avenue trains continued to use the line on Hudson Avenue to Fulton Ferry.[16] All Lexington Avenue trains served Sands Street after 1889,[citation needed] but Myrtle Avenue trains began alternating between Fulton Ferry and Sands Street on April 10, 1899, in order to avoid the transferring of Myrtle Avenue passengers to trains bound for the bridge.[30][31] Lexington Avenue trains were extended from Sands Street over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row in June 1898.[citation needed] This pattern remained until the line to Fulton Ferry closed on April 11, 1904.[citation needed]

From 1904 until the abandonment of service on October 13, 1950, the Lexington Avenue service pattern (labeled 12 after 1924) was relatively simple. Trains began at either Park Row in Lower Manhattan or Sands Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and ran along the Broadway Elevated at least to East New York and sometimes to Jamaica.

Station listing[edit]

Original line from Fulton Ferry[edit]

Beginning on April 27, 1889, all Lexington Avenue trains used the Myrtle Avenue Elevated west of Myrtle Avenue station, and this line was only used by Myrtle Avenue trains.

Name Location Opened Closed Notes
Fulton Ferry Fulton Ferry November 11, 1885[11] April 11, 1904[citation needed]
York and Washington Streets York Street and Washington Street May 13, 1885[3] April 11, 1904[citation needed] connection to the Brooklyn Bridge and New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway
Bridge Street York Street and Bridge Street May 13, 1885[3] April 11, 1904[citation needed]
Navy Street Park Avenue and Navy Street May 13, 1885[3] December 8, 1889[16]
Cumberland Street Park Avenue and Cumberland Street May 13, 1885[3] December 8, 1889[16]
Washington Avenue Park Avenue and Washington Avenue May 13, 1885[3] December 8, 1889[16]

Later line from the Brooklyn Bridge[edit]

Lexington Avenue trains were moved to this route on April 27, 1889, joining the old route just west of Myrtle Avenue station.

Demolished section[edit]

This section of the line closed in three stages. Service past Bridge–Jay Streets ended in 1944. Service on the section shared with the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line ended in 1969 when that line closed, 19 years after the BMT Lexington Avenue Line itself was demolished between Washington Avenue on the Myrtle Avenue Line and Gates Avenue on the Jamaica Line.

Name Location Opened Closed Notes
Park Row Brooklyn Bridge and Park Row, Manhattan June 1898[citation needed] March 5, 1944[citation needed]
Sands Street Brooklyn Bridge and Sands Street September 1, 1888[21] March 5, 1944[citation needed]
Adams Street Myrtle Avenue and Adams Street April 10, 1888[18] March 5, 1944[citation needed]
Bridge–Jay Street Myrtle Avenue and Bridge Street April 10, 1888[citation needed] 1950[citation needed] Free transfers were offered to the IND Fulton Street Line at Jay Street – Borough Hall (present day A C F trains) after 1944.
Navy Street Myrtle Avenue and Navy Street April 10, 1888[citation needed] November 4, 1969[citation needed]
Vanderbilt Avenue Myrtle Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue April 10, 1888[citation needed] 1950[citation needed]
Washington Avenue Myrtle Avenue and Washington Avenue April 10, 1888[citation needed] November 4, 1969[citation needed]
Myrtle Avenue Grand Avenue and Myrtle Avenue May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Myrtle Avenue Elevated trains and Myrtle Avenue Line streetcars
DeKalb Avenue Grand Avenue and DeKalb Avenue May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to DeKalb Avenue Line streetcars
Greene Avenue Grand Avenue and Greene Avenue May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Greene and Gates Avenues Line streetcars
Franklin Avenue Lexington Avenue and Franklin Avenue May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Franklin Avenue Line and Greene and Gates Avenues Line streetcars
Nostrand Avenue Lexington Avenue and Nostrand Avenue May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Nostrand Avenue Line and Lorimer Street Line streetcars
Tompkins Avenue Lexington Avenue and Tompkins Avenue May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Tompkins Avenue Line, Marcy Avenue Line, and Ocean Avenue Line streetcars
Sumner Avenue Lexington Avenue and Sumner Avenue (Marcus Garvey Boulevard) May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Sumner Avenue Line streetcars
Reid Avenue Lexington Avenue and Reid Avenue (Malcolm X Boulevard) May 13, 1885[3] October 13, 1950[citation needed] connection to Utica and Reid Avenues Line streetcars

BMT Jamaica Line[edit]

Just before Gates Avenue, Lexington Avenue trains joined the BMT Jamaica Line. The section of the BMT Jamaica Line used by Lexington Avenue trains is now used by the J and Z trains. The former connection to the BMT Lexington Avenue Line can be seen from J and Z trains just west of Gates Avenue.

Name Location Opened Closed Notes
Gates Avenue Broadway and Gates Avenue May 13, 1885[3] present connection to Broadway Elevated trains and Broadway Line, Greene and Gates Avenues Line, and Ralph Avenue Line streetcars
Halsey Street Broadway and Halsey Street August 19, 1885[32] present connection to Broadway Line and Putnam Avenue Line streetcars
Chauncey Street Broadway and Chauncey Street July 18, 1885[33] present connection to Broadway Line and Wilson Avenue Line streetcars
Manhattan Beach Crossing Broadway and LIRR Manhattan Beach Division June 14, 1885[4] present connection to the BMT Canarsie Line and IND Fulton Street Line (present day A C L trains).
Alabama Avenue Broadway, Fulton Street, and Alabama Avenue September 5, 1885[5] present
Van Siclen Avenue Fulton Street and Van Siclen Avenue December 3, 1885[6] present
Cleveland Street Fulton Street and Cleveland Street May 30, 1893[28] present
Norwood Avenue Fulton Street and Norwood Avenue May 30, 1893[28] present
Crescent Street Fulton Street and Crescent Street May 30, 1893[28] present
Cypress Hills Crescent Street and Jamaica Avenue May 30, 1893[28] present

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Five Cent Fare". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 5, 1885. p. 4. 
  2. ^ "Opening Day". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 13, 1885. p. 6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Done at Last". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 13, 1885. p. 1. 
  4. ^ a b "East New York". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 13, 1885. p. 6. 
  5. ^ a b "Still Extending Its Lines". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). September 5, 1885. p. 6. 
  6. ^ a b "Finished at Last". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 3, 1885. p. 4. 
  7. ^ "Five Hundred Passengers". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 4, 1885. p. 6. 
  8. ^ Rand McNally, 1897 map of Brooklyn
  9. ^ a b "Will Open on Monday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). November 1, 1888. p. 5. 
  10. ^ "Must Walk Around". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). November 18, 1885. p. 4. 
  11. ^ a b "At the Ferry". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). November 11, 1885. p. 4. 
  12. ^ "Elevated Railroad Consolidation". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 12, 1887. p. 6. 
  13. ^ a b "Surrender of Capital Stock". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). November 18, 1890. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Railroad Men Dancing". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 7, 1888. p. 1. 
  15. ^ "Relief from Taxation". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 15, 1889. p. 1. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Running Smoothly". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 9, 1889. p. 6. 
  17. ^ "Will Consolidate Monday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). October 25, 1890. p. 8. 
  18. ^ a b "A Start Made". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 10, 1888. p. 6. 
  19. ^ "The Broadway Line Opened". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). June 25, 1888. p. 6. 
  20. ^ "When the Union Road will be Finished". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 13, 1888. p. 1. 
  21. ^ a b "To the Bridge". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 30, 1888. p. 4. 
  22. ^ "Will Open on Saturday". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 25, 1889. p. 1. 
  23. ^ a b "Elevated Railroad Criticism". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 1, 1889. p. 5. ; "Trouble on the Elevated Railroad". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 1, 1889. p. 5. 
  24. ^ "Running More Trains". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). January 18, 1890. p. 1. 
  25. ^ "The Park Avenue Elevated Road". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 15, 1891. p. 6. 
  26. ^ "Tear it Down". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). December 26, 1891. p. 2. 
  27. ^ "Loop in Operation". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 9, 1900. p. 3. 
  28. ^ a b c d e "Trains Running This Morning". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 30, 1893. p. 10. 
  29. ^ "Elevated Railroad Extensions". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). May 28, 1893. p. 16. 
  30. ^ "L Express Trains". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 7, 1899. p. 1. 
  31. ^ "Express Train Service". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). April 8, 1899. p. 16. 
  32. ^ "Halsey Street Station Opened". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). August 19, 1885. p. 4. 
  33. ^ "A New Station Opened". Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY). July 18, 1885. p. 4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • A Great Day for Brooklyn, New York Times May 14, 1885 page 8
  • A Short Cut to Coney Island, New York Times June 15, 1885 page 5
  • City and Suburban News, New York Times November 12, 1885 page 8
  • Brooklyn Elevated Roads, New York Times December 4, 1885 page 7
  • City and Suburban News, New York Times December 15, 1885 page 8
  • Elevated Tracks to Come Down, New York Times December 25, 1891 page 1
  • B.M.T. 'El' Lines to Shift Service; City to Close 2 Sections This Week, New York Times May 27, 1940 page 19
  • Brooklyn 'El' to Go Down, New York Times October 6, 1950 page 21
  • Brooklyn 'El' Link Dies with Aplomb, New York Times October 14, 1950 page 16

External links[edit]