BROADWAY SIGN, Bedford-Stuyvesant

If I didn’t tell you where this sign is located, your natural assumption would be Manhattan, whose Broadway runs from the Battery to the Harlem River and beyond. Actually, I shot this out the window of the J train at the Myrtle Avenue station, which is on a center platform and thus allows you to get a photo from the door on the opposite side. When on a train traveling on an el, I always stand at the door, moving aside for people getting off or on, but always scanning the exterior for photo opportunities. Subway lines still using latitudinal seating in which you face a window at 90 degrees, such as the R or F, are getting few and far between these days, and the R never gets above ground. Thus, I’m always standing on an el train!

An unknown chiseler etched the street sign into the building exterior sometime in the early 20th Century. I was unable to see if a corresponding Myrtle Avenue sign was on the other side, but I can tell you that at this location, els came together, as the Myrtle and Broadway els met here until 1969, when the Myrtle was closed. There’s a remaining crossover allowing M trains to proceed to the surviving section of the Myrtle el that ends in Middle Village, marking the one and only current crossover between lines on a NYC el. Until 1950, the Brooklyn Lexington Avenue el also flowed trains onto the Broadway el.



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2 Responses to BROADWAY SIGN, Bedford-Stuyvesant

  1. John Dereszewski says:

    Kevin, thanks for catching this. I’ve been waiting for many train connections at this station over many years and never noticed this.

    I would place the date of the stone cut a bit earlier than you did – say in the late 19th century. In neighboring Williamsburg, many corner facades have their cross-streets etched in stone and, in the North and Southside, they indicate numbered streets that now possess specific names. For example, a reference to 3rd St. now describes Berry St. and there are a number of 4th St. references appearing on Bedford Ave. According to Eugene Armbruster, the numbered streets were renamed in 1889. Given that the fad of sculpting the cross-streets on the corner buildings did not last beyond this period, I would conclude that the example you provided is probably more of late 19th than early 20th century vintage.

  2. Kathy says:

    Thanks for this photo. To see this carving, still visible today after over a hundred years, makes me think of the long-ago artist who made it.

    And I know how you feel about looking out the windows on the el lines. When I was a kid, my Dad used to hold me up to the windows or the door of the first car on the subway so I could llok out. I used to ride the Myrtle Avenue El and the Broadway El. Spent many a rainy day riding back and forth from one end of the Myrtle Avenue El to the other with my books and a snack. So many of the old elevated subways are gone now. But there is still a lot to see from the ones that remain. Keep taking these great photos. They will be history someday.

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