168th Street (BMT Jamaica Line)

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168th Street
Former New York City Subway rapid transit station
168th Street Jamaica El at 165th Street.JPG
Site of former 168th Street Station building at Jamaica Avenue and 165th Street. Presently a women's clothing and fashion retail store occupies the site.
Station statistics
Address Jamaica Avenue & 168th Street
Queens, NY 11433
Borough Queens
Locale Jamaica
Coordinates 40°42′20″N 73°47′40″W / 40.70556°N 73.79444°W / 40.70556; -73.79444Coordinates: 40°42′20″N 73°47′40″W / 40.70556°N 73.79444°W / 40.70556; -73.79444
Division B (BMT)
Line BMT Jamaica Line
Services None (demolished)
Transit connections Jamaica surface Line
Structure Elevated
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened July 3, 1918; 97 years ago (1918-07-03)[1][2][3]
Closed September 10, 1977; 38 years ago (1977-09-10)[4]
Former/other names Cliffside Avenue[1]
Grand Street[3]
Station succession
Next north (Terminus)
Next south 160th Street (demolished)

168th Street was the terminal station on the demolished section of the BMT Jamaica Line. Located between 165th and 168th Streets on Jamaica Avenue, it had two tracks and one island platform. The next stop to the south was 160th Street. This station was built as part of the Dual Contracts in 1918,[2][5][6] and was closed in 1977 in anticipation of the Archer Avenue Subway, and due to political pressure in the area.[7][8]

Early years[edit]

168th Street was part of two Dual Contracts extensions of the BMT Broadway-Jamaica Line east of Cypress Hills and the "S-Curve" from Fulton Street to Jamaica Avenue.[1][6] It opened on July 3, 1918,[2][6][3] replacing 111th Street as the line's terminus.[1] 168th Street station also replaced the Canal Street Station along the Atlantic Avenue Rapid Transit line (today part of the LIRR Main Line), which closed nineteen years earlier, and supplanted the trolley service on Jamaica Avenue.[1][9]

The station was constructed with a diamond crossover switch west of the station, and a large signal and switch tower built to the side of the elevated structure. Past the crossover, the line expanded to three tracks, with the middle track ending at 160th Street. While reports say the station had a concrete platform, photographs show a wooden platform.[6] It served trains from the BMT Jamaica-Nassau Street Line to Manhattan (the predecessors to today's J and Z trains) and from the BMT Lexington Avenue Line.[2][10] The station also connected to the nearby 165th Street Bus Terminal (opened in 1936) at 89th Avenue and Merrick Boulevard via an exit on 165th Street.[7][11]

Decline and closure[edit]

In 1937, the Queens Boulevard Line of the city-owned Independent Subway System was extended to a new terminal at 169th Street and Hillside Avenue, four blocks away. The opening of the IND terminal drew passengers away from the BMT lines.[12]

Many groups had called for the removal of the extension in the Jamaica Business district since shortly after it opened, and by the 1960s the city planned to close the station and significant portions of the line in Jamaica.[8] Many merchants credited the line with causing blight and hurting business in the neighborhood.[6][10]

The line was also torn down in preparation for the completion of the Archer Avenue Subway one block south, which would serve the Jamaica Line and a spur of the IND Queens Boulevard Line. Construction of that line began in 1972.[8] 168th Street closed at midnight on September 10, 1977, and by 1979 the elevated structure from 168th Street to Sutphin Boulevard was torn down. The line was truncated to Queens Boulevard, with the Q49 bus replacing the demolished portion of the line until December 11, 1988.[4][6][7]

Current status[edit]

In spite of the support of local business owners for the demolition of the line, stores continued to suffer and several establishments closed due to the absence of the El. This included the large Macy's location in the 165th Street Pedestrian Mall near the bus terminal.[8][7]

Unlike the 160th Street and Sutphin Boulevard stations, which were completely demolished in 1979,[7] 168th Street's former control tower, known as the "Station and Trainmen's Building",[13] still remains standing on the southeast corner of 165th Street and Jamaica Avenue. It sits inactive atop a block of storefronts. The exit stairways for the station were purchased by a private citizen to be used on their estate in Nissequogue on the Long Island Sound.[14]

The Archer Avenue Line was completed in 1988, nearly ten years after the closure of the station,[15] but it does not extend east to 168th Street.[16] The closest subway stations to this former station are Jamaica Center – Parsons/Archer, at Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue, which is nine blocks west and one block south,[16] as well as the existing 169th Street station which is four blocks to the north on Hillside Avenue.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e New York Times, New Subway Line: Affords a Five-Cent Fare Between Manhattan and Jamaica, L.I., July 7, 1918, page 30
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ a b c "Open "L" Extension to Jamaica Today". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 2, 1918. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b The New York Transit Authority in the 1970s, nycsubway.org
  5. ^ Subway FAQ: A Brief History of the Subway
  6. ^ a b c d e f Dembart, Lee (September 9, 1977). "A Sentimental Journey on the BMT...". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Breslin, Rosemary (May 22, 1983). "AFTER A LONG SLIDE, HOPE FOR JAMAICA". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d Herman, Robin (July 4, 1979). "For Jamaica, Redevelopment Is a Promise Unfulfilled; Projects Are Thwarted". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Rapid Transit Extension: Frequent Trains and Low Fares All the Way to Rockaway Junction". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 24, 1890. p. 1. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Fowler, Glenn (July 27, 1975). "Proposal to End Jamaica Ave. El at Queens Blvd. Is Opposed". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Stores Now Leasing! In the New Long Island Bus Terminal at 165th Street, Jamaica". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 16, 1936. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "New Lines Shift City Travel". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 8, 1937. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Business Property to Let". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 3, 1930. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Topics; In Transit Tendentious Traveler Stylish Stairs Clamped Cars". nytimes.com. The New York Times. July 23, 1978. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Johnson, Kirk (December 9, 1988). "Big Changes For Subways Are to Begin". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  16. ^ a b "Queens Merchants Win More Bus Service". nytimes.com. The New York Times. March 17, 1989. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Jamaica" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015. 

External links[edit]