Chrystie Street Connection

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Chrystie Street Connection
Chrystie Street Connection
other lines
Bleecker Street
Broadway – Lafayette Street
Second Avenue
Prince Street
East River
Spring Street
Williamsburg Bridge
BMT Jamaica Line
Grand Street
Delancey Street – Essex Street
East Broadway
IND Culver Line
Rutgers Street Tunnel
Canal Street
Manhattan Bridge

The Chrystie Street Connection is one of the few connections between lines of the (former) BMT and IND divisions of the New York City Subway, which together constitute its modern B Division. A major branch of the IND Sixth Avenue Line, it connects to the BMT Manhattan Bridge north tracks (over the Manhattan Bridge) and BMT Jamaica Line (over the Williamsburg Bridge). The project, opened in 1967 and 1968, also includes the Sixth Avenue Line's Grand Street and 57th Street stations, the latter of which is not part of the connection itself.

The connection was originally conceived as part of the long delayed Second Avenue Subway, and is one of the few completed sections of the project.[1]

Route description[edit]

Manhattan Bridge connection[edit]

D train on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge, looking toward Brooklyn

The two tracks that run the full length of the connection begin as a continuation of the IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks east of Broadway – Lafayette Street. These tracks include the line's only station, Grand Street, and connections to the two northern tracks over the Manhattan Bridge.[2][3][4] The IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks formerly continued east, ending slightly east of the Second Avenue station, and were planned to extend into Brooklyn and beyond as part of a never-built major system expansion called the IND Second System.[5][6] Those tracks still exist at Second Avenue station, but now connect to the local tracks west of the station.

The two tracks on the north side of the Manhattan Bridge formerly carried trains to the BMT Broadway Line. The Broadway Line now connects to the tracks on the south side of the bridge, which before 1967 had connected to the BMT Nassau Street Line, carrying the Nassau Street Loop service via Chambers Street. The connection to the Nassau Street Line was cut north of Chambers Street at the Manhattan Bridge end, and is used for storage from the Nassau Street end.

The opening of the Chrystie Street Connection to the Manhattan Bridge allowed the integration of four major routes of the combined system. The BB service of the IND was through-routed with the T BMT West End Line service as the B, and the D service of the IND was through-routed with the Q BMT Brighton Line service as the D,[7][8] although in 2004, the Brooklyn routes and terminals of the B and D trains were swapped as part of the Manhattan Bridge reconstruction from 1986 to 2004.

Williamsburg Bridge connection[edit]

The Williamsburg Bridge and two trains on it, seen from the Marcy Avenue station

The two tracks that connect to the Williamsburg Bridge split from the Sixth Avenue Line local tracks east of Broadway – Lafayette Street and feed into the BMT Nassau Street Line west of Essex Street.[2][3] The purpose of this portion of the connector was to allow trains originating in northern and eastern Brooklyn and southern and eastern Queens to operate into Midtown Manhattan via the Sixth Avenue Line, rather than having to turn south along Nassau Street. The KK (later renamed the K) service, which used these tracks, proved unpopular; as such, it only operated from July 1, 1968 to August 29, 1976, when it was cut as part of an ongoing retrenchment of service during New York City's fiscal crisis.[9]

The connection was used for a time to move equipment to and from the BMT Eastern Division, but was not used in regular service again until budget cuts forced a reroute of the M train starting on June 27, 2010. The connection was reactivated for the M train, which was rerouted to replace the V train to the IND Sixth Avenue Line and then to 71st – Continental Avenues station in Queens.[10][11][12][13]


A plan similar to the Chrystie Street Connection was proposed as part of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS) under the Board of Transportation's 1944-1948 Capital Program, with connections from the 2nd Avenue line to the BMT Nassau Street Line, the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges, as well as a new station at Grand and Chrystie Streets. This plan would have allowed service from Grand Street to run south to Chambers and Broad Streets on the Nassau Street line, providing an additional East River crossing via the Montague Street Tunnel.[1][14] In 1954, the modern Chrystie Street plans were introduced as part of a request by the Transit Authority (TA) for $172 million in capital transit improvement funds.[15]

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 25, 1957, with Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. and TA officials in attendance.[14][16] The project was constructed in conjunction with the addition of express tracks on the Sixth Avenue Line between 34th Street and West 4th Street, and reconfiguration of the DeKalb Avenue interlocking on the other side of the Manhattan Bridge. It was expected that the project would be finished in three years.[1][3][7] In 1962, the Sixth Avenue extension to the new terminal at 57th Street was announced.[14] During construction, the entire seven-block length of Chrystie Street was closed until 1964.[17]

The project was projected to cost $100 million, and was projected to provide capacity for 52,00 more riders an hour between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Lighting, power and signal equipment for the Chrystie Street tunnel had been installed by January 1965. In 1965, the whole project was projected to be completed in 1967, with the portion involving the opening of Grand Street to be opened in 1966.[18]

The Manhattan Bridge connection and the Grand Street station opened on November 26, 1967, almost exactly 10 years after the project began. The Williamsburg Bridge connection and 57th Street station opened on July 1, 1968.[7][14]

The Chrystie Street Connection was the first actual integration of BMT and IND lines after the unification of all major lines under New York City municipal ownership in 1940.[7][14] Prior to that, the nearest integration of the two previous systems was the operation of BMT trains over part of the IND Queens Boulevard Line via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection connecting Lexington Avenue / 59th Street on the BMT Broadway Line to Queens Plaza on the IND Queens Boulevard Line in 1955. In that case, however, BMT trains operated on the IND by trackage rights, using BMT equipment and crews.[14]

Service changes[edit]

Two major service changes were inaugurated with the opening of the connection. The first went into effect on Sunday, November 26, 1967, when the Manhattan Bridge connection opened. The second occurred on Monday, July 1, 1968, when the Williamsburg Bridge connection opened. Additionally, for the 1967 opening, every service in the system was labeled with a letter or number and a color.[14]

Original changes[edit]

Changes following the Manhattan Bridge connection opening[edit]

The opening of the Manhattan Bridge connection on November 26, 1967 was concurrent with the opening of the new express tracks on the Sixth Avenue Line between West Fourth Street – Washington Square and 34th Street, providing additional capacity for the extra trains on the IND via the connection. The following service changes were made,[7][8][14] affecting about 200,000 passengers:[19]

  • The rush-hour only BB, which had run between Washington Heights – 168th Street on the IND Eighth Avenue Line and 34th Street, was relabeled the B. It was extended via the new Sixth Avenue Line express tracks and the Chrystie Street Connection, then express on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line and local on the BMT West End Line, terminating at Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue. This latter segment replaced the T (express via Bridge) and TT (local via Tunnel) services, leaving only the TT West End Shuttle from the BMT Fourth Avenue Line running to Coney Island during late evenings, late nights and all day Sundays. B service was added during middays, early evenings, and the same time on Saturdays, but only south of West Fourth Street – Washington Square.
  • The Q (BMT Brighton Line express) service was "absorbed" by a rerouted D, which used the Sixth Avenue Line local tracks (except rush hours, when it ran express). It used the Chrystie Street Connection to the BMT Brighton Line to Stillwell Avenue (running express in Brooklyn from morning rush hours through early evenings). Formerly, the Q had run local in Brooklyn (except during morning rush hours and early evenings) and express on the BMT Broadway Line in Manhattan, terminating at 57th Street. The pre-1967 Q ran only weekdays until the mid-evening. The D had previously used the Sixth Avenue Line and IND Culver Line to Coney Island; this service was replaced by the F (see below).
  • The EE service was added, running weekday rush hours, middays and early evenings, as a local train between Forest Hills – 71st Avenue on the IND Queens Boulevard Line and Whitehall Street – South Ferry on the Broadway Line via the BMT 60th Street Tunnel Connection and the Broadway Line in Manhattan. This replaced the RR, which had formerly used the 60th Street connection during the same times (and was cut back to 57th Street in Manhattan other times). The RR was rerouted to Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard full-time. The QT (Q via Tunnel) and QB (Q via Bridge) had served Astoria from the BMT Brighton Line; the QT was partly replaced with the QJ (Q via Jamaica; see below), and the QB was truncated to 57th Street for rush hour-only service. The D (see above) now served the Brighton Line.
  • In a major rerouting affecting Queens riders, the F train was considerably extended from its original terminal stops, Broadway – Lafayette Street (morning rush hour to early evening) and 34th Street on the Sixth Avenue Line (other times), into Brooklyn to Stillwell Avenue along the Culver Line (previously serviced by the D). It continued to run express east of Forest Hills – 71st Avenue only during rush hours. For the first time, riders from central Queens had a one-seat ride to southern Brooklyn destinations and Coney Island.
  • The QJ was added as a rerouting of the old QT, combined with an extension of the old J Jamaica Express, entering Manhattan via the tunnel and extending via the BMT Jamaica Line to 168th Street. Its service hours remained the same, running from morning rush hours through early evening. It continued to run express in western Brooklyn and skip-stop in morning rush hours only in eastern Brooklyn.
  • The RJ (R via Jamaica) service was added as an extension of former RR special service on the Nassau Street line, continuing local along the Jamaica Line to 168th Street. It operated only during rush hours.
  • The NX was added for a "super-express" service from Brighton Beach through the Stillwell Avenue terminal (the only service to do so) and along the BMT Sea Beach Line's middle express tracks and Fourth Avenue Line to 57th Street in Manhattan.
  • A free transfer was established between the Atlantic Avenue on the IRT Eastern Parkway Line and Atlantic Avenue on the BMT Brighton Line. While these two stations were both adjacent to the LIRR Atlantic Terminal and each other, their respective fare-control zones were separated at the time.

These changes were reportedly so confusing to some motormen that on November 28, 1967, a motorman intending to drive a train along the new D route via Grand Street accidentally drove his train to Canal Street, necessitating the discharge of 800 passengers from the train during a busy rush hour.[20] Reaction among passengers was mixed, with one passenger hugging a conductor after the opening of the new Grand Street station in Manhattan, while another passenger complained about having to take a slow local train in Brooklyn.[19]

Changes following the Williamsburg Bridge connection opening[edit]

The following changes went into effect on July 1, 1968, concurrent with the opening of the 57th Street station at Sixth Avenue and the bridge connection:

  • The KK service commenced between the new 57th Street station at Sixth Avenue and 168th Street in Jamaica. It operated only during rush hours, running skip-stop with the QJ on the BMT Jamaica Line east of Broadway Junction and then local into Manhattan. In Brooklyn, the KK (rush hours) and QJ (other times) replaced the JJ service, which was discontinued. The KK served "A" stops on the skip-stop portion of the BMT Jamaica Line, and the QJ served "B" stops. This skip-stop pattern, which had operated only in morning rush hours, was extended into afternoon rush hours, but still ran only in the peak direction.
  • The B service was extended during non-rush hours from its former terminus at West Fourth Street – Washington Square to the new 57th Street station, using the local tracks of the IND Sixth Avenue Line. Rush hour trains continued on the established route to Washington Heights – 168th Street via the express tracks (and the local tracks of the IND Eighth Avenue Line). The TT shuttle on the BMT West End Line in late evenings, late nights and all day Sunday, was discontinued and replaced by additional B service.
  • The D service now bypassed 14th Street and 23rd Street via the express tracks of the IND Sixth Avenue Line at all times. It had previously done this only during rush hours. This service is taken over by the B and KK.
  • The M (rush hour service) was extended from Chambers Street to Broad Street due to the additional capacity available from the rerouting of the JJ (as the KK).
  • A free transfer was added between 42nd Street – Bryant Park on the IND Sixth Avenue Line and Fifth Avenue on the IRT Flushing Line from 5 AM to 10 PM weekdays. A passageway connecting the stations directly was built later on, and opened in 1972.

The following adjustments to the new service were put into effect on August 18, 1968:

Later changes[edit]

These new services began to unravel in response to commuter complaints about the various routings. Many of the new extensions like the NX and RJ quickly disappeared (April 12, 1968 and June 28, 1968, respectively[22]). The KK (since renamed the K) was discontinued in 1976, ending service via the Williamsburg Bridge connection.[9] Reconstruction of the Manhattan Bridge occurred from 1986 to 1988, in 1995, and from 2001 to 2004. At times, this made the Chrystie Street Connection unavailable for through trains, and made the Grand Street station a terminal for Grand Street Shuttle service to Broadway – Lafayette Street. The Manhattan Bridge reopened fully in 2004.[1][23][24]

Current service routing[edit]

The Chrystie Street Connection returned to full revenue service on June 28, 2010.[12] The Manhattan Bridge connection continues to be used by the B and D services. The Williamsburg Bridge connection is now used by the M service, which had formerly come into Manhattan on the BMT Nassau Street Line. In June 2010, as part of a round of service cuts, the M was rerouted via Chrystie Street onto the IND Sixth Avenue Line, continuing along the V service's former routing north of Broadway - Lafayette Street. At the same time, the V route had been eliminated to close a budget gap.[12]

Proposed Second Avenue Subway connections[edit]

As a road, Chrystie Street extends northward beyond Houston Street to become Manhattan's Second Avenue, and the Chrystie Street Connection is currently the only part of the long-planned Second Avenue Subway to be opened to service. It is one of several vestiges of the unbuilt Second Avenue Subway, which include two existing tunnels under Second Avenue, a subway extension from Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street to 96th Street opening in 2016, a recession in the ceiling at Second Avenue station, and a short tunnel under Bowery.[1][2][14]

The Chrystie Street Connection comprises two of the six existing parts of the long-planned Second Avenue subway line that were built in the 1960s and 1970s—the other four parts being the BMT 63rd Street Line, two unused subway segments under Second Avenue in East Harlem (one of which is being connected to the 63rd Street line for Phase 1 of the line opening in 2016), and an unused subway segment under Confucius Plaza just to the south.[1][2][25][26] The Chrystie Street Connection would have facilitated cross-platform and track interchanges between the Second and Sixth Avenue lines at Grand Street.[1][14] Under current plans, Phase 4 of the future Second Avenue Subway will be built below the existing Sixth Avenue tracks.[1]

Station listing[edit]

Station service legend
Stops all times Stops all times
Stops weekdays only Stops weekdays only
Time period details
Handicapped/disabled access Station Tracks Services Opened Notes
Williamsburg Bridge Connection:
begins as a split from the IND Sixth Avenue Line local tracks south of Broadway – Lafayette Street
(no stations) local M weekdays until 11:00 p.m. July 1, 1968 unused in revenue service 1976-2010
connects with the BMT Nassau Street Line railroad north (compass west) of Essex Street, and then over the Williamsburg Bridge
Manhattan Bridge Connection:
begins as a ramp from the IND Sixth Avenue Line express tracks south of Broadway – Lafayette Street
Grand Street express B weekdays until 11:00 p.m. D all times November 26, 1967
continues over the Manhattan Bridge, north tracks


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS): Appendix B: Development of Alternatives" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Second Avenue Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS): Deep Chrystie Option" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Katz, Ralph (July 3, 1957). "Project, to Be Completed in 3 Years, Will Link BMT From Brooklyn and Queens With IND at 2d Ave. Station". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Lower East Side" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Roger P. Roess; Gene Sansone (23 August 2012). The Wheels That Drove New York: A History of the New York City Transit System. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 416–417. ISBN 978-3-642-30484-2. 
  6. ^ Maykuth, Andrew (February 26, 1992). "A Nether World They Call Home Under The Streets Of Manhattan, The Homeless Huddle In Remote Crannies Of The Subway Amid Crack Vials And The Reek Of Human Waste. Retreating Underground In A Search For". New York: The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Perlmutter, Emanuel (November 16, 1967). "SUBWAY CHANGES TO SPEED SERVICE: Major Alterations in Maps, Routes and Signs Will Take Effect Nov. 26". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Perlmutter, Emanuel (November 27, 1967). "BMT-IND CHANGES BEWILDER MANY; Transit Authority Swamped With Calls From Riders as New System Starts". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Burks, Edward C. (August 14, 1976). "215 More Daily Subway Runs Will Be Eliminated by Aug. 30". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (March 19, 2010). "Under a New Subway Plan, the V Stands for Vanished". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-20. 
  11. ^ "2010 NYC Transit Service Reductions" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 27, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c "Memorandum: Modifications to 2010 NYC Transit Service Reductions" (PDF). MTA New York City Transit Authority. March 19, 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Review of the G Line" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 10, 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Joseph B. Raskin (1 November 2013). The Routes Not Taken: A Trip Through New York City's Unbuilt Subway System. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-5369-2. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Ingalls, Leonard (July 10, 1954). "Transit Body Asks $172,062,000 Of City for Capital Improvements; $172,062,000 ASKED FOR TRANSIT WORK". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Ground Is Broken for the Chrystie Street Subway Link". The New York Times. November 26, 1957. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Barriers on Chrystie St. Removed Alter 6 Years". The New York Times. January 24, 1964. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  18. ^ Annual Report 1964–1965. New York City Transit Authority. 1965. 
  19. ^ a b "New Subway Routings Give Riders (and Motormen) a Day of Adventure; SUBWAYS SURVIVE DAY OF ADVENTURE". The New York Times. 1967-11-28. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  20. ^ "Even a Train Lost Its Bearings In the Subway's New Routings; Error Takes 800 to Wrong Station and Motorman to Four Boroughs". The New York Times. 1967-11-28. Retrieved 2016-07-06. 
  21. ^ "Review of F Line Operations, Ridership, and Infrastructure" (PDF). MTA New York City Transit Authority. October 7, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-05-31. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "". 
  23. ^ Dewan, Shaila K. (July 23, 2001). "For Riders, Many Riddles, Written in Q's, D's and W's". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  24. ^ Jacobs, Andrew (January 28, 1996). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: CHINATOWN/DOWNTOWN;Experiment Fails As Peddlers Vote With Their Feet". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  25. ^ Donohue, Pete (June 24, 2013). "Underground subway party could put organizers in hot water: MTA: Gothamist website printed pictures of the bash. MTA says it'll turn over case to NYPD.". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  26. ^ Donohue, Pete (January 20, 2013). "Second Ave. subway on track to open in 2016: MTA". Daily News. New York. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]