Deep in the heart of Ridgewood, a beautiful neighborhood filled with brick and brownstone buildings that straddles the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, there lurks a relic of the trolley days of yesterday. The fact that the tracks aren’t on a city street proper have probably saved them from oblivion…so far.
These two views of Woodbine Street between Onderdonk and Woodward Avenue show 84-year-old trolley tracks under the right of way of what is now the BMT “M” elevated train.
The el at this point has its own right of way and so does not travel over a street. For most of its run, it shadows Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street, but then detours between streets until descending to grade and ending at Metropolitan Avenue.
The trolley tracks were originally part of the Myrtle Avenue line of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT). In 1913 it was decided to elevate the train, leaving the tracks available for trolley use. Trolley cars operated on the ROW, which followed the same route that is today assumed by the M train, from 1916 into the 1940s.
Another view of the tracks at 60th Place, south of Putnam Avenue, both sides. After service ended, the tracks were never paved over in areas where the ROW did not follow a street.
A similar state of affairs exists in Jackson Heights, where tracks survive in spots on a demapped section of Jackson Mill Road.
This view from the 1930s shows a Peter Witt car using the tracks on Madison Street and Woodward Avenue.