Kew Gardens (LIRR station)

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Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens LIRR Station & Lefferts Boulevard Bridge.jpg
Kew Gardens Station and Lefferts Boulevard Bridge
Station statistics
Address Austin Street & Lefferts Boulevard
Kew Gardens, New York
Coordinates 40°42′35″N 73°49′50″W / 40.7096°N 73.83066°W / 40.7096; -73.83066Coordinates: 40°42′35″N 73°49′50″W / 40.7096°N 73.83066°W / 40.7096; -73.83066
Connections Local Transit MTA Bus: Q10, Q37
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 4
Parking Yes
Other information
Opened 1879, 1883
Closed 1882, 1909
Rebuilt September 8, 1910
Electrified June 23, 1910
750V (DC) third rail
Owned by Long Island Rail Road
Fare zone 1
Formerly Maple Grove (1879-1910)
Kew (1910-1912)
Passengers (2006) 1,631[1]
Preceding station   MTA NYC logo.svg LIRR   Following station
toward Penn Station
Main Line
(City Terminal Zone)
toward Long Island
From 82nd Avenue
All the shops to the right of the pizzeria are on the Lefferts Boulevard bridge over the station

Kew Gardens is a station on the Main Line of the Long Island Rail Road in Kew Gardens, Queens. The station is located at Austin Street and Lefferts Boulevard. One of Kew Garden station's unique features is the 119th Street (Lefferts Boulevard) Bridge which has one story commercial buildings on both sides for local businesses.

The Main Line has four tracks; the two middle tracks not next to either platform, are used by express trains.


The former Maple Grove Station, 18 years before the LIRR realignment project

Kew Gardens station originally opened in May 1879 (although some claim it was opened on December 6, 1879[2]) as Maple Grove, a flag stop for Maple Grove Cemetery. Using today's landmarks (which did not exist then), the Station was located in back of the Mowbray and Kew Gardens Plaza Apartments.[3] A letter to THE LONG ISLAND FORUM, Vol 4 (Dec. 1941) says, "In 1897, I was a locomotive fireman on the L.I.R.R. and at that time the main line of the road between Jamaica and Long Island City was a single track road ... located about 150 or 200 ft. to the east of the present tracks which pass through ... Kew Gardens. A flag station known as Maple Grove was the only station between Jamaica and [Elmhurst]. This track was mostly used by freight trains except in commuting hours when some passenger trains ran over it." [John Tooker, Babylon, LI.][4] The station was closed in 1882, reopened in 1883, and removed in 1909 as part of a track realignment project. The new Kew station was moved approximately 600 feet south alongside and perpendicular to the tracks for use as a real estate office of developers of Kew on September 8, 1910. The former station was razed a short time later, and the existing station was renamed Kew Gardens in 1912.

The Kew Gardens station has the unfortunate distinction of being the site of the worst accident in Long Island Rail Road history, as well as the worst in New York state history. On November 22, 1950, a collision between two Long Island Rail Road commuter trains killed 79 people and injured hundreds.[5][6] This occurred nine months after a collision at Rockville Centre station on February 17, 1950 that resulted in the deaths of 32 people, and serious injury of 158 people.[7] A far more notorious historical aspect is the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, which occurred near this station and Genovese had parked her car at its parking lot before her murder.

Hopedale Station[edit]

West of the original Maple Grove station was a station known as Hopedale, which was named after a hamlet near today's Union Turnpike west of Queens Boulevard.[8] It was built in either October or November 1875 somewhere along Union Turnpike. Money for a new station house was contributed by the people of Richmond Hill and Whitepot (Forest Hills). The commute to New York was far different then. However due to the proposed construction of a second track, and its close proximity to Maple Grove Station, it was closed on April 28, 1884, relocated, and converted into a private residence.[9]

Platforms and tracks[edit]

3 Main Line toward Penn Station (Forest Hills)
1 Main Line no stop
2 Main Line no stop
4 Main Line toward Long Island (Jamaica)

This station has two high-level side platforms each four cars long;[10] generally, the first four cars of a train in either direction will receive and discharge passengers at this station. The north platform next to Track 3 is generally used by westbound or Manhattan-bound trains. The south platform next to Track 4 is generally used by eastbound or outbound trains. Most LIRR trains that pass through the station do not stop.


  1. ^ Average weekday, 2006 LIRR Origin and Destination Study
  2. ^ Vincent Seyfried's notes @ Stony Brook University
  3. ^ "The 1950 LIRR crash at Kew Gardens/Richmond Hill". July 28, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ The Maple Grove Long Island Railroad Station (A Picture History of Kew Gardens, New York)
  5. ^ "The Maple Grove Station". 
  6. ^ About the Long Island Rail Road's Worst Train Crash (Richmond Hill Historical Society)
  7. ^ Long Island Rail Road Wrecks
  8. ^ Are We There Yet? (A Picture History of Kew Gardens, New York)
  9. ^ LIRR Station History (TrainsAreFun)
  10. ^ Proposed MTA Capital Program 2010-2014, DRAFT - August 2009

External links[edit]