Guider Avenue is one of the shortest wide streets in Brooklyn, enjoying 4 lanes with a center median. It runs from East 12th Street at Neptune Avenue west and northwest to Coney Island Avenue, where its traffic is funneled into Shore (Belt) Parkway. It probably gained its lanes — along with the ones on an even shorter street, Cass Place — when the Belt Parkway was constructed from 1938-1940.
When I first encountered the existence of Guider Avenue on maps and in person on car rides as a kid, my first thought was that Guider Avenue was so named because it guides traffic onto the Belt Parkway. But nothing can be further from the truth; it appears on maps as early as 1929, a decade before the Parkway was built.
If you look at photos of Guider Avenue residences in 1940 tax photos, they all seem to be one-story bungalows. Today, 80 years later, Guider Avenue is lined with high-rise dwellings, some of them newer glassy ones.
What, or who, was Guider Avenue named for? The answer can be found in a park in Prospect Heights at Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, miles away from Guider Avenue. The park was previously named for Brooklyn Borough President Joseph Guider, who served from January 1, 1925 to September 22, 1926, at his death. When previous beep Edward Riegelmann resigned to take a judgeship, Guider was elected to finish his term and then was reelected for a four year term in 1925; but then died before he could finish the term. He was replaced by James J. Byrne.
These three Brooklyn beeps have prominent landmarks named for them: The Coney Island Boardwalk was built during Riegelmann’s term and is named for him; and both a Park Slope park and Newtown Creek bridge are named for James J. Byrne. In 1986, Guider Park in Prospect Heights was renamed for Dr. Ronald McNair, who perished on board the space shuttle Challenger that year. Thus, Guider Avenue remains his only legacy.
BP Joseph A. Guider, who died in office in 1926, was an advocate of better traffic circulation in and around Coney Island.
Guider Avenue was designed as part of a circumferential system of at-grade streets and was a rerouting and replacement of Canal Avenue between West First Street and the intersection of Neptune and Homecrest Avenues. Eastbound traffic was to continue onto Neptune and Emmons Avenues. This original route can be seen as a proposed street on the 1929 E. Belcher Hyde atlas. The section of Guider Avenue west of East Seventh Street was later eliminated by the construction of the Shore (Belt) Parkway, which superseded the at-grade circulation plan advocated by Guider.
It was named in Guider’s memory after his death.