by Kevin Walsh

Here’s an interesting (well, to me) map of Queens prepared by Ohman Maps in 1936. It shows the entire route of the recently-shuttered Whitestone Branch of the Long Island Railroad, which connected the Port Washington branch just east of today’s Mets-Willets Point station northeast through College Point and Whitestone to the East River waterfront. The line went defunct in 1932, but not before the LIRR offered to sell it to NYC, which would connect it as a subway extension to the IRT Flushing Line, today’s #7 train. In the midst of the depression, the city turned down the offer and the tracks quickly became weeded over and mostly eliminated; little trace of the line remains these days.

The map is interesting: it shows the correct name of the Willets Point Boulevard station. The real Willets Point is located at Fort Totten, and the boulevard was originally devised to run there continuously, but today it exists in two pieces.

I sampled this College Point excerpt because it shows (and I wish the lettering wasn’t upside down) College Point’s former street names. Like Astoria, College Point had a named-street phase, and two numbered-street phases. The north-south streets were named in alphabetical order, with names like Kelford, Lebanon, Mamaroneck (a city in Westchester across the East River), Norway, Oberlin… and even an “X” street, Xenophon; that letter is usually skipped.

I wish there could have been a way to keep these colorful names around; the purpose of numbering streets was to avoid repeat names such as Spruce, Main, Washington, etc. College Point also had a numbered phase, with 1st through 32nd Streets, until the 1930s or so when the neighborhood joined Queens’ greater numbered street system.

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



Anastasios March 4, 2020 - 2:31 pm

Hi- Any chance you could post a high-resolution of the map? I am interested in the Malba area. Great find.

Kevin Walsh March 5, 2020 - 11:32 am

I would advise visiting the NYC Transit Museum, Schermerhorn at Boerum Place, for an up close look at the full map.

tom March 5, 2020 - 2:51 pm

Also try the Main branch of the Library in Jamaica. Years ago I was able to make copies of an old Queens map, year unknown. But Francis Lewis Blvd was called Cross Island Blvd on it.

Brian Will March 4, 2020 - 5:48 pm

I checked out the entire line recently (several times) on my bike. There is almost nothing left, including the posts that had been
leftover in the early 2000’s at 15th Avenue and 148th street in Whitestone. The posts at 23rd Avenue and 130th street in
College Point are also gone. They are forever available, however, at the old Forgotten-Ny page:
https://forgotten-ny.com/2001/10/like-a-rolling-whitestone/ Thanks to Walsh for seeking those remnants out. It’s invaluable.

There is still some trackage in the marsh visible from the 7 train bridge on the Corona side. Look north along the creek line
(in the high marsh) at the end of the junkyard/sand lot property line.

And of course there are distinct property lines throughout the former ROW. The slanty house at 20th avenue and 128th street is one of the best. There are interesting ROW-derived property lines behind the Whitestone shopping center at the curve of
14th road.

The one spot that I couldn’t explore was in College Point, at the dead-end at 22nd Avenue and 129th Street which leads to a steep, wooded hill.
It looks like it it hasn’t been touched in years, and had what looked like railroad ties. But I didn’t go in. It is pictured in Walsh’s
original piece but I believe is mis-represented as 130th street. The steep wooded hill is at the top of the dead-end on 22nd avenue, and shoots down to 129th street.

Andy March 5, 2020 - 5:56 pm

Much of the right of way east of the sharp turn was re-purposed for the Cross Island Parkway in the late 1930s, as that highway was built to connect with the new Bronx Whitestone Bridge (opened April 29, 1939, the day before the first New York World’s Fair opened.


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