Nostrand Avenue Line (surface)

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This article is about the BMT streetcar line. For the IRT Subway line in Brooklyn, see IRT Nostrand Avenue Line.

The Nostrand Avenue Line is a public transit line in Brooklyn, New York City, United States, running mostly along Nostrand Avenue, as well as northbound on New York Avenue and Bedford Avenue (as part of a one-way pair), between Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg. Originally a streetcar line, it is now the B44 bus route, operated by the New York City Transit Authority.


The Williamsburgh and Flatbush Railroad was chartered in 1868,[1] and opened in 1870 from the Broadway Ferry in Williamsburg south over the Brooklyn City Rail Road's Greenpoint Line on Kent Avenue and Classon Avenue, east on its Flushing Avenue Line on Flushing Avenue, and south on Nostrand Avenue to Flatbush. The charter allowed them to use Lee Avenue instead from Williamsburg, but residents along that street opposed its use.[2] Tracks were however placed in Lee Avenue in early 1873,[3] and opened soon after, running from the Broadway Ferry east over the Broadway Railroad's Broadway Line on Broadway and south on Driggs Avenue and Lee Avenue.[citation needed]

An extension from Empire Boulevard south to the Flatbush Avenue Line opened on July 15, 1895, after some delay, and the Holy Cross Cemetery Line was moved to a branch of the line along Tilden Avenue.[4][5][6] The line eventually reached Avenue U.

Effective 5 am, December 5, 1948, the line was cut back from Essex Street on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge to the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Service across the bridge was replaced with a transfer to the new B39 bus route.[7][8][9] Buses were substituted for streetcars on April 1, 1951; the B44 bus now continues south past Avenue U into Sheepshead Bay, some B44 buses now go as far as Emmons Avenue.

Effective November 17, 2013, the B44 Limited service was converted to Select Bus Service (SBS), joining other SBS routes in New York City: the M15 and M34 in Manhattan and the Bx12 and Bx41 in the Bronx. The service continues to operate between Williamsburg Bridge Plaza (also known as Washington Plaza) and Sheepshead Bay. Southbound SBS service operates on Nostrand Avenue and northbound on Rogers Avenue, north of Flatbush Avenue. Local B44 service continues on Nostrand Avenue and New York Avenue.[10] The B44 and the B44 Select Bus Service are based out of Flatbush Bus Depot.


  1. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Proposed Communication, August 19, 1870, page 4
  2. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, A Railroad for Lee Avenue, August 5, 1872, page 2
  3. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, City Hall Notes, May 24, 1873, page 4
  4. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Nostrand Avenue Railroad, October 9, 1894, page 1
  5. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Suburban News, June 26, 1895, page 4
  6. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, To Flatbush for Two Fares, July 15, 1895, page 4
  7. ^ New York Times, Bridge Cars of '04 Yielding to Buses, December 2, 1948, business section, page 58
  8. ^ New York Times, Buses Take Over Williamsburg Run, December 6, 1948, page 18
  9. ^ New York Board of Transportation, Report for the Three and One-half Years Ending June 30, 1949
  10. ^