The Roosevelt Avenue IND station is a busy interchange serving Queens Boulevard local routes (M, R) and express routes (E, F). There’s also a transfer to the Flushing Line here.
However, there was once a plan to make the line even busier. As part of the unbuilt IND Second System, a spur was once going to branch off from this station, run southeast along various streets in Maspeth and Glendale (Fresh Pond Road and Central Avenue were proposed) as both a subway and an el, and ultimately hook up with the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Branch, where it would travel alongside the LIRR across Jamaica Bay to territory now claimed by the A train.
What happened? The Depression, which worsened in 1936 and 1937, and World War II, which claimed materials that would be going toward the line. After WWII, the Age of the Auto had begun, and surface lines and subways were suddenly out of fashion. However, a subway route to the Rockaways did happen. When a wood trestle owned by the LIRR burned in 1950, the railroad sold the line to the Transit Authority, which rebuilt the bridge as well as a connection from the A train to the Liberty Avenue El, and then paralleled the Rockaway tracks. LIRR service on the branch ended in 1962, but the A train still uses part of the route. Maspeth and Glendale, however, have never gotten subway service.
A legacy of the planned IND Rockaway expansion was the tiled sign formerly seen at a staircase in the 65th Street station, above left. Perhaps as result of my showing it in FNY, it was removed soon after I posted it in 2000.
Another legacy of that route is in a police station and crew room at Roosevelt Avenue. One of those upper level spur platforms was completed, with tiling and signage. These survive intact today. Some former enamel signs from the Willets Point Blvd. station on the Flushing Line have been placed there but make no mistake, this is at Roosevelt Avenue.
This photo shows you the color tile band and small black and white Roosevelt Avenue signage. No large color IND Roosevelt Avenue plaques were made for this station; the lower level, in use, has island platforms and so the large signs don’t appear. The corridor you see would have had a trackway roadbed running in it.
Photos courtesy Jason Brown