ROWAN STREET

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A head-scratcher at the 65th Street station on the IND Queens Boulevard line (R and M trains) has a modern sign showing the exit at Rowan Street and Broadway.

65th Street hasn’t been known by that name since the 1920s, when most Queens streets were grouped under one numbering system. Early IND signs, installed in the 1930s, included “Rowan Street”signs ¬†for the benefit of old timers who still called it Rowan Street. But there’s no excuse for it now, except for figuring in sheer obliviousness.

Photo: Howard Fein





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Categorized in: One Shots Signs Subways & Trains

9 Responses to ROWAN STREET

  1. William Lee says:

    Similar to the late lamented “23rd-Ely” stop, also on the IND Queens Blvd. line (now served by the E and M trains) in Long Island City, which has now been redubbed “Court Sq.-23 St.” You can still see a second-floor-level incised street marker for “Ely Avenue” on a building at the corner of 45th Avenue and 23rd Street, which is what Ely Avenue is now. I used to love to hear the conductors call out “23rd-Eee-ligh”, as if summoning up a ghost from the past.

  2. William Lee says:

    Of course what I forgot to mention is that the tiles in the Court Sq-23 St station still proudly bear the “23rd-Ely Ave” name. It is one of the more pristine stations, so it is unlikely that MTA will attempt to alter it…let’s hope.

    • Helen Chirivas says:

      I agree – they should keep the names of the streets, even if they’re no longer used. Especially 23-Ely. If anything, they’ll spark peoples’ interest in street/boro history – for example, to figure out why the street was named Ely, was it named after a person etc.

  3. Mary D says:

    If you grew up there (and your grandparents grew up there) you tend to end up bilingual in street names. I’ve been known to go back-and-forth between the new names and the original names in conversation, and end up having to back up and explain where I’m talking about. “Yeah, I grew up on 11th Street between V’nAlst and Ely, my great-grampa was Captain of Engine 258 when they moved to the new firehouse on 8th Street and 20 years after that” tends to get people looking at you like you just landed from Venus :-)

    (I never heard anyone from the neighborhood pronounce it as two words “Van Alst,” it was always “V’nAlst.”)

  4. Ferryboi says:

    While I’m all for saving old signage and using old-school terms like IND or BMT when describing the subway, I wonder why the MTA insists on installing new signs such as “Rowan St” when there’s maybe one person alive who actually remembers Rowan St. It’s just a bit silly and confusing, not to mention a waste of money, to print up all these signs on the Queens Blvd and Flushing lines, pointing people toward streets that don’t even exist any more. Maybe in honor of the 100th anniversary of the “new” Queens numbering system, they can phase out these old names and call the streets by their real, numbered names?

  5. Howard Fein says:

    The stations along the Flushing, Astoria and Liberty Avenue els always carried dual signage showing both the street number and old pre-1930 name. So Ely, Rawson, Beebe, Greenwood and friends have become part of subway ‘culture’. For many decades, the only reference to Rowan Street had been a couple of small directional signs on the Manhattan-bound 65th Street platform were never removed. But the station was never called 65th Street/Rowan. It was always just plain 65th Street on maps and the tongues of conductors. This modern TA issue sign is the most publicity Rowan has ever received- at least 50 years too late.

  6. Larry Mac says:

    There is also a now-covered sign from the IND days at 65th Street that points down to the eastbound platform that says “To Jamaica and Rockaways”. That was my station years ago and I lived at 39-76 65th Street. The connection for trains to Rockaway was never built because of the Depression.

  7. Larry Mac says:

    And for those of us with some miles on us, as a local stop you could get on the EE or GG Crosstown Local at 65th Street. The Independent used double letters for it’s local trains.

  8. Howard Fein says:

    Sorry Larry, bu7t the “To Jamaica and Rockaways” sign was removed some time after I took a photo of it for my Facebook album of fractured signs back in January 2011. There is now a modern “M R Forest Hills & Jamaica” covering it. So I guess it’s my fault. :-(

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