October 1, 2014

    I was desultorily trudging through Williamsburg on January 1, 2014 when I was reminded of the power of trolley tracks to preserve ancient streets. Johnson Avenue is a relatively busy two-lane road that cuts through East Williamsburg from Manhattan Avenue east to Flushing, Cypress and Scott Avenues in a section of Bushwick that is being [...]

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    August 21, 2014

    Even though Manhattan is an island, Roosevelt Island is an island in the borough of Manhattan. I was slouching around the southern end of the island this past week, as I’m fascinated with the NYC talismanic objects that somehow have accreted around the tramway landing area just north of the subway exit. This part of [...]

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    February 10, 2014

    There’s one less reason for me to visit Red Hook. On February 9, 2014, the collection of trolley cars that Bob Diamond, the rediscoverer of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, had assembled in a scotched attempt to bring trolley service back to the streets of Brooklyn, were trucked away from the tracks behind the Fairway Supermarket [...]

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    September 30, 2012

    BY GARY FONVILLE Forgotten NY correspondent I used to live near this location where Coney Island Avenue meets Parkside Avenue in Kensington, Brooklyn at Park Circle. Even though I used that circle for 35 years or so,   I never saw these former trolley tracks.  Even ‘your webmaster’ didn’t see them when when he did [...]

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    April 19, 2012

    …. at 61st Street and Flushing Avenue. Trolley service along Fresh Pond Road began in 1896 and ended in the 1940s; the northernmost section of the line used 61st Street to reach Flushing Avenue, which had been laid out in its present form in 1893. Before that time it was the Brooklyn and Newtown Turnpike.

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    March 4, 2012

    On February 21st, 2012 I was laid off from a job I fought hard to obtain, and fought hard to keep. The following day I went where many Brooklynites over the decades have gone for solace and to forget: Coney Island. I had lunch at Nathan’s, which is packed and jammed 7/365 no matter the [...]

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    September 27, 2010

    About ten years ago – at the Dawn of Forgotten New York (ca. 2000) I was aimlessly wandering around Red Hook Brooklyn — long before Fairway, long before IKEA, before the Todd Shipyards were dismantled, when the abandoned Revere Sugar factory still stood and the remains of a lightship where still floating in Erie Basin. A familiar [...]

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    August 15, 2010

    I moved to Queens on March 28th, 1993 and have lived there since, the first 14 in eastern Flushing and the next three (as of 2010) in Little Neck. While I lived in Bay ridge I made the occasional Queens foray on a bicycle, and would also take the #7 to see games at Shea Stadium [...]

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  • OLD SUBWAY and TROLLEY CARS in Queens and Brooklyn

    July 13, 2008

    I’m a subway fan. Not during those times when I’m in NYC during summer rush hours, when it’s 100 degrees down there and have to wait till several trains pass until I can find one to squeeze onto. I’m far from one of those guys who always have to ride in the first car and look [...]


    February 26, 2006

    BY GARY FONVILLE Forgotten NY correspondent Streetcars criscrossed the five boroughs like cobwebs. The Third Avenue Railway controlled most trolleys in the Bronx. The company was profitable for many years. But by the 1920s, the city’s Board of Transportation wanted the trolleys to be replaced by a large-scale bus system. With this in mind, a [...]

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    December 3, 2001

    New York City began phasing out trolley operations in the 1930s. For better or worse (mostly worse) New York cast its lot with the internal combustion engine. Mass transit has been the red-headed stepchild to King Car for decades. Trolleys provided a quick, clean and nearly noise-free trip. They got in the way of cars, though…so [...]

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    August 12, 2001

    Visible remnants can still be found from a trolley line in Canarsie, Brooklyn, at which trolleys last clanged and rumbled way back in 1942. There’s a catch though–this was no regular trolley line, but it was in turn the last remnant of steam railroad service to Canarsie. On this 1938 Geographia map of Canarsie, the single [...]

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    August 20, 2000

    Like the other boroughs, The Bronx had its own system of trolleys and tracks, the longest being one by the Manhattan Railway Company that ran on Melrose and Webster Avenues in the Melrose, Morrisania, Mt. Hope, Tremont, Fordham, Bedford Park, and Norwood; it continued along Gun Hill and White Plains Roads all the way to [...]

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    March 17, 2000

    Are trolleys truly extinct? According to the City of New York, they are. But for a brief shining moment in Brooklyn, they weren’t. There was a Jurassic Park-like experiment that went on in remote Red Hook, Brooklyn, where a Flatbush resident named Bob Diamond dreamt of returning trolley cars to their rightful place on the [...]

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    January 4, 2000

    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 [...]

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    October 14, 1999

    Once upon a time, trolleys clang-clanged their way through the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and even parts of Queens and Staten Island. Trolleys ruled to the degree that the thin peninsula of Coney Island could boast not one but two east-west trolley routes! One of them ran down Surf Avenue from West 37th [...]

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    June 27, 1999

    On June 1st, 1999, on the very first ForgottenTour, I stumbled across some remains of a long-dead trolley line on a piece of Johnson Avenue that doesn’t even show up on city maps anymore. This piece of Johnson Avenue, complete with trolley tracks, between Union Avenue and Broadway was cut off when the Lindsay Park Houses (in [...]

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    May 9, 1999

      What are those railroad tracks doing running between Shell Road and West 6th Street, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, just south of the Belt Parkway? They’re actually the last remnants of the #50 trolley line that ran down McDonald Avenue until the mid-1950s. According to subway historian Joe Korman, these tracks shared service: both the McDonald Avenue [...]

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    January 10, 1999

    You say that there haven’t been any trolleys on the streets of Brooklyn since the late 1950s? Don’t tell Robert Diamond, the man who discovered the ancient Long Island Railroad tunnel underneath Atlantic Avenue in 1980 . Since then, Diamond has been trying to inaugurate a trolley line that would extend through the long-abandoned tunnel [...]

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    January 10, 1999

    Although the trolleys of New York City are no more, many of the cars that appeared on city streets until the mid-1950s can be found at the Shoreline Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut. In 1945, several electric railway enthusiasts realized that trolleys were on the way out, being replaced by buses as the prime method [...]

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    December 28, 1998

    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. [...]

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  • TROLLEY POLES around town

    September 19, 1998

    Trolley tracks aren’t the only remnants of former trolley lines that are still dotting the city landscape. The poles that carried the electric power supply are still here and there. Many stand rusting and forgotten, but at left, one such pole at Flushing and Onderdonk Avenues, Ridgewood, Brooklyn (LEFT) , is now employed to carry telephone [...]

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    September 15, 1998

    This is the former New York and Queens Railroad Company trolley barn. It was built in 1896 to serve the fledgling NY & QRC, which was formed that year when the Steinway Railway Company and Newtown Railroad Company sold out to a delegation of Philadelphia investors interested in building a trolley line in Queens. The towers [...]

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