VERNON AVENUE, Hunters Point

by Kevin Walsh

The Vernon-Jackson #7 train stop in Hunters Point is one of my favorites. It was opened in June 1915 as one of the two original stations on what is today called the Flushing Line (after it reached its full eastern extension in 1928). It’s marked by some of Squire Vickers’ most colorful mosaic treatments, and an exit sign that points to a NYC archaism.

There’s no longer a Vernon Avenue in Queens, but until 1920 or thereabouts, Vernon Avenue was the progenitor of today’s Vernon Boulevard between Broadway and the LIRR railroad tracks at Jackson Avenue. North of Broadway, Vernon Boulevard was the old route of the street formerly called The Boulevard, which is today’s 11th Street.

I’ve talked at length in FNY and on the tours about how Queens got its own independent street numbering system in 1915 that was gradually implemented over the next ten years, replacing individual towns and villages’ numbering and street naming systems. However, there was another big change around that time, as well. Many main routes in Queens acquired the “Boulevard” nomenclature, and Vernon, which was constructed by Neziah Bliss as a Greenpoint to Astoria turnpike in the 1800s, was one of them; it changed from Vernon Avenue to Vernon Boulevard about 5 years after these mosaic signs appeared.

Other Queens routes got the treatment, too. The combination of Jackson Avenue/Broadway/North Hempstead Turnpike received the name “Northern Boulevard” around 1920 and since that time, the name has been extended along NYS Route 25A almost to the Suffolk County Line.

Thomson Avenue and Hoffman Boulevard combined to produce Queens Boulevard, which was given multiple extra lanes beginning in the 1920s.

Fulton Avenue/Astoria Avenue became Astoria Boulevard.

Springfield Road became Springfield Boulevard.

Junction Avenue (the origins of the name are vague; perhaps from a streetcar junction) became Junction Boulevard.

The Rockaway Turnpike became the eastern end of Rockaway Boulevard, but stayed a Turnpike in Nassau County. The western end of Rockaway Boulevard west of Sutphin was Rockaway Plank Road, and the north end of Rockaway Turnpike became Sutphin Boulevard.

Queens Avenue became Hollis Court Boulevard.

Bell Avenue became Bell Boulevard.

New York Avenue became New York Boulevard, then Guy R. Brewer Boulevard.

Farmers Avenue = Farmers Boulevard.

Francis Lewis Boulevard was named relatively recently (early 20th Century) for the Declaration signer from Whitestone. It occupies the old route of Whitestone and Queens Roads, but was built as Cross Island Road originally.

Merrick Boulevard remains Merrick Road in Nassau County.

Hook Creek Boulevard was Ocean Avenue, and still is on its Nassau County side.

Metropolitan, Hillside and Jamaica resolutely remained Avenues, and Union and Jericho remained Turnpikes. Just for fun, Little Neck Road became not a Boulevard but a Parkway (though there’s a short Little Neck Boulevard in Bayside).

College Point Boulevard is a mashup of old roads including 122nd Street, College Point Causeway and Lawrence Street, all combined under the College Point Boulevard moniker in 1969.

Woodhaven Boulevard connects Queens Boulevard to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway Peninsula. Built in stages in the 1920s, it was a straightening of an older road, Trotting Course Lane, north of Forest Park, and Woodhaven Avenue south of the park. Parts of Trotting Course Lane and the old unstraightened Woodhaven Avenue (now 95th Street) are still on the map. South of Liberty Avenue, it was given the name Cross Bay Boulevard after the bridges across Jamaica Bay were built in 1925.

Lefferts Boulevard, which stands in for 119th Street in Richmond Hill and Ozone Park, was a mere Avenue; Ditmars Boulevard, formerly Avenue, stands in for 22nd Avenue in Astoria.

Hey, I’m forgetting a few, fill me in.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”

2/12/19

7 comments

Patrick February 12, 2019 - 9:07 pm

College Point Boulevard and Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevards!

Reply
Andy February 13, 2019 - 9:24 am

To expand on the previous posting, today’s College Point Boulevard is an amalgamation of three separate thoroughfares – College Point Causeway, Lawrence Street, and Rodman Street. Believe that the re-naming dates from around 1966, after the 64-65 World’s Fair closed.

Lefferts Avenue – Boulevard

Ditmars Avenue – Boulevard

Van Wyck Boulevard – Expressway (but much more than just a re-naming). “Van Wyck Blvd.” name tablets still appear on the IND Queens Blvd. Line subway station which is now officially called “Briarwood.”

Reply
joel February 13, 2019 - 10:05 am

Two more pieces of information:
Guy R. Brewer Blvd was renamed from New York Blvd in the 1970’s or early 1980’s.
Horace Harding Blvd became Horace Harding Expressway AKA Long Island Expressway except for a small area just past Little Neck Parkway on the Northern side of the LIE. where a drop of the original Horace Harding Blvd. still exists.

Reply
Broadway Junction February 13, 2019 - 2:05 pm

Great post. You should write young adult books ala Susan Cooper, who is intensely interested in England’s ancient roads. I’ve even got the title for the first book in a long series: Paumanok Path. The New World has ancient roads too. Let everyone know.

Reply
Edward February 15, 2019 - 8:03 pm

The 1891 Wolverton Atlas of Queens County has Lefferts Avenue in the Town of Jamaica. Woodhaven Boulevard was (another) Flushing Avenue in 1891. New York Boulevard was New York Avenue, Sutphin Boulevard was Rockaway Turnpike. There is also Van Wyck Avenue (later boulevard, later expressway), which shows the name in use several years prior to the consolidation of Greater New York and the administration of Mayor Robert Van Wyck, so it may be that it was named for a different Van Wyck, possibly a local family of the Jamaica area. Interestingly, 101st Avenue was Broadway.

Reply
Ken Buettner February 20, 2019 - 1:26 pm

Cross Island Road was renamed to Francis Lewis Boulevard to avoid confusion with the then under construction Cross Island Parkway.

Reply
FNY Fan Skipper March 9, 2019 - 12:37 am

Seagirt Boulevard, Far Rockaway
Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway Park (et al.)
Rockaway Point Boulevard, Rockaway Point
Breezy Point Boulevard, Breezy Point

Reply

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