by Kevin Walsh

A look at a modern-day map shows Cropsey Avenue, the main artery of Bath Beach, make a sharp southward turn at about 24th Avenue, crossing Coney Island Creek over a drawbridge to Neptune Avenue, where it meets West 17th Street. Meanwhile, Harway Avenue branches off it to continue southeast to Stillwell Avenue; for many years, the B64 bus has ran on it instead of Cropsey. That avenue is named for German immigrant Casper Cropser, whose name was Anglicized for English tongues. Descendants of his are the painter Jasper Cropsey, who painted some Staten Island scenes as well as upstate Hudson River views. Harway Avenue is named for 19th Century developer James Harway.

Cropsey Avenue made that curve because it originally ran on a short peninsula between Gravesend Bay and the vanished Harway Basin, since eliminated by landfill. This area was once part of small towns called Unionville and Guntherville, as indicated on FNY’s Mill Road page

Shown above is the state of things in 1929. Some of Unionville’s original roads, such as Stryker Street and Hubbard Street, are still in place. Only the roads shown in purple were paved at the time, however.

The biggest change made in the area — other than its landfilling and urbanization, of course — to my mind is the great Cropsey-Harway Shift. On this map, it is Harway Avenue that makes the curve and is the main drag through the region, plunging south to Coney Island Creek. And, it is Cropsey that is mapped to head southeast to meet Stillwell Avenue. Sometime between 1929, and my next oldest map from 1938, the two avenues trded names. The question is, when exactly and why?

If anyone can provide an answer…comment below as you see fit.



Andy Koeppel December 15, 2017 - 1:44 am

It is greatly appreciated when your research prompts you to ask questions like this. If you have not already asked Brian Merlis or Ron Schweiger about this, they may know the answer or someone else who could provide it.

Earthdog December 17, 2017 - 9:06 am

I’d guess that the name swap took place about the same time when Cropsey/Harway Ave combo was widened by the WPA from Bay Parkway south/east down to Neptune Ave in Coney Island in the mid/late 1930s. Also speaking of the B64 bus I remember during the 80s into the early 90s it took a detour along 28th and Cropsey Avenue because of the rehab of the Belt Pkwy viaduct over the Coney Island subway yards and the rebuilding/widening of the bridge that took Stillwell Ave over Coney Island creek.

Kevin Walsh December 18, 2017 - 12:32 am

I remember the rickety old Stillwell ave bridge that was replaced in the early 1980s.

Librarian January 31, 2018 - 1:26 am

According to Google street view. the Cropsey Pharmacy at Cropsey Ave, and Bay 40th St. is gone. It is now a Russian Orthodox church. Just thought I’d let you know.


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