The trolleys of yore may be gone…but in streets that haven’t been repaved for awhile, ancient trolley tracks point their snouts above the tar and concrete to get a breath of air before they are buried again beneath fresh pavement for another few decades!

The trolleys are gone… at least in New York City they are. Yet…look around. Chances are, you’ll find a rail here, a track there to remind you that trolleys were once the main above-ground form of transportation in NYC and fume-belching buses were years in the future.



LEFT: You can’t keep a good trolley track down as this scene on Grand Street near Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, proves. RIGHT: Flushing Avenue in Ridgewood near Johnson Avenue.

Flushing Avenue near Johnson Avenue is in need of repaving. Bad news for drivers but good news for urban archeologists looking for evidence of where the trolleys once ran.

[by 2009 Flushing Avenue had been paved and the tracks removed]

This tolley track (at 4th Avenue and Bay Ridge Avenue) formerly served the trolley line that served Bay Ridge Avenue and 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The nearby 69th Street Ferry, which connected Bay Ridge with St. George, Staten Island, is equally long departed, having been shut down rather than compete with the then-new Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Some tracks poked through the asphalt at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn.

Church Avenue at McDonald Avenue.

Church Avenue is wider between East 5th and East 7th Streets because of an underpass for trolleys; after the last car ran in 1956, the tunnel was filled in, but the widening remains.

Humboldt Street at Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint.

Winter freezing and spring thawing have left massive potholes on some streets, revealing the truth that lurks under NYC streets: the fact that trolley tracks are still there awaiting use if ‘ight rail’ ever makes a comeback, as it has in Jersey City.

Here Forgotten Fan Mick Andreano gestures toward a Driggs Avenue discovery.

Bedford Avenue, under the Williamsburg Bridge approach.

Garnet Street, east of Hamilton near Gowanus Canal.

2012: Most, if not all, of these tracks have been paved over or removed.

12/29/08; revised 3/12/12


Categorized in: Trolleys

4 Responses to TROLLEY TRACKS

  1. Robert says:

    The tracks at Driggs Avenue and Humboldt Street do not show up on any olf the old trolley maps, what line were they?

  2. Mike says:

    I think the street you show is NOT Grand St nor is it Union Ave at Grand St. Living and knowing the area for years, the street shown in the photo looks like Lorimer St off Grand St.

  3. Rich R says:

    Nice presentation. I am old enough to have ridden the trolleys, both Peter Witt cars and PCCs. I watched the big production on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn when they dug out the tracks and back-filled with substantial road material. Major traffic snarl for miles, and for days.

  4. Myron Antonoff says:

    There was a trolley barn in Brownsville Brooklyn on the south west corner of Rockaway Ave and Hegeman Street. One set of tracks went north toward Pitkin Ave. A second set went south to Canarsie. The third went east toward East NY and the forth went west toward Flatbush. The trolly barn was torn down in the mid ’50s and in it’s place was built a Co-op.

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