by Kevin Walsh

Forgotten NY correspondent

One of the most visible roads in southern Brooklyn and Queens is Linden Boulevard, which has its western start at Flatbush Avenue, running for six miles to the Queens border as part of New York State Route 27. Then there’s the other six-mile stretch of Linden Boulevard running from the Aqueduct Racetrack towards Nassau County. The gap in the neighborhood of Ozone Park has three smaller segments of Linden Boulevard that were never connected to each other. On one such segment is a Department of Transportation maintenance facility decorated with an environmentally-themed work of art.

The facility at 88-26 Pitkin Avenue stands atop an orphaned segment of Linden Boulevard, completed in 2009 by the firms Gruzen Samton and IBI Group Architects. The Percent for Art law mandated a portion of the site’s construction budget to be used for public art, which appears on the property wall facing Pitkin Avenue. The facility replaced an earlier garage from 1939 built on this site.

Comprising of brick, stone, and concrete, Cross Section recycles building rubble into a striped pattern evoking a nineteenth-century drawing of the geological cross-section beneath the surface. Samm Kunce, the artist of this 200-foot long work also has another lengthy mosaic in the transfer passageway of the Bryant Park subway station that recalls the geologic history of that location.

From the western side of the facility, we see the building fitting into the residential low-rise skyline of Ozone Park, showing that a utility yard and single-family homes can coexist as neighbors.

On the eastern side we see the dead-end sidewalk of Linden Boulevard at Pitkin Avenue leading toward Sunrise Yard. A tiny triangular plot was assigned to Parks as a Greenstreet, densely planted with hedges. On this dead-end are two homes addressed as Linden Boulevard. I’m sure they have no difficulties with pizza deliveries.

Across Pitkin Avenue, we see another orphaned segment of Linden Boulevard. Behind this dead-end are two more homes addressed as Linden Boulevard. It would make more sense for the DOT and the borough topographical bureau to absorb these two dead-ends into Pitkin Avenue and Desarc Road, but that would take away from their history as part of the great unfinished 13-mile boulevard running from Brooklyn to Nassau.

On the OasisNYC property survey, we see the unfinished Linden Boulevard cutting through Tudor Park and some of the homes and backyards of Ozone Park. The most visible grid-defiant road here is Conduit Avenue, with the spacious median for the unbuilt Interstate 78. This map also contains other Ozone Park sites featured on Forgotten-NY such as Van Wicklen Road, Southside Burial Ground, and Albert Road. Concerning other grid-defiant roads, take a trip to Rockaway Boulevard with its triangular parklets.

The 1956 map of Brooklyn and Queens by the Shell Oil Company shows a full-length Linden Boulevard. Had it been completed, it would have provided an alternative east-west route between Nassau County and Brooklyn when there’s too much traffic on Belt Parkway. The red dot marks the Sunrise Yard, which blocks Linden Boulevard from proceeding here.

From Kevin Walsh’s July 2018 page on Van Wicklen Road, we have a map from 1909 that show the Van Wicklen property and tract houses in the fields to its west. These homes stood in the way of a completed Linden Boulevard and ended up instead as neighbors of Sunrise Yard.

Sergey Kadinsky is the author of Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs (2016, Countryman Press) and the webmaster of Hidden Waters Blog


1 comment

Joan Gronbacher Burke December 27, 2020 - 2:03 pm

When I was little, about 6 yrs old, I went to the Racetrack all the time we knew all the Jockey’s. It was a fun time for me.
I also enjoyed seeing my high school (John Adams). This was a walk back in time for me. When I was 16 I worked on Jamaica Ave. across from Gertz store (where my sister – in- law worked.
It is amazing how you find these pictures and stories. We lived across from Coleman Square and the LIRR..


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