by Kevin Walsh

THE Thomson Avenue Bridge was created in the late 19-oughts, along with the remainder of the Sunnyside Yards railroad complex. The entire complex is a vast open space, covered only by air, and developers are hungrily eyeing it so it can be decked over with supertall glassy residential towers, as was done with the Penn Railroad yards in Midtown West to create the Hudson Yards complex, one of the more egregious white elephants in the architectural landscape these days.

Thomason Avenue is relatively short and runs from Jackson Avenue and 44th Drive, spanning the yards (as does Queens Boulevard, Honeywell and 39th Streets). Motor traffic can access ramps to the Queensboro Bridge atop the railroad complex. Thomson Avenue’s eastern end is home to LaGuardia Community College.

In the 1800s, Thomson Avenue ran all the way to Elmhurst, but after the Queensboro Bridge was opened and a few years later the Flushing Line Viaduct was built, the section between Sunnyside and Broadway/Grand Avenue was absorbed into Queens Boulevard, which was widened into today’s behemoth and became the pedal to the metal Boulevard of Death after its trolley tracks were finally pulled up and discarded.

The Thomson Avenue bridge over the Yards is unique, as it boasts a protective canopy to keep rain and snow off the heads of its pedestrian traffic. (On the Queens Boulevard Sunnyside Yards bridge, the elevated #7 train does the same trick.) The canopy is relatively recent; I’d date it to the 1980s, but if I’m wrong… Comments are open.



John October 13, 2021 - 10:49 pm

I didn’t know that!

Ty October 14, 2021 - 7:54 am

I believe the pedestrian overhead appeared in the 80s when they were pitching the International Design Center in an effort to de-Manhattanize the design ecosystem.

Punto October 14, 2021 - 9:35 am

As I understand it (and someone should check on this) what is now Queens Boulevard was originally Thomson Ave. If you look at a map (I know I don’t have to mention this to you, Kevin), they clearly continue each other in a straight line. I think it was the construction of the viaduct (or bridge; I have seen it referred to both ways) over the Sunnyside yards and/or the construction of the 7 Line of the IRT that was the cause of the creation of Queens Boulevard that was behind the name change. I worked for roughly a decade at 31-11 Thomson, right next to the intersection of Thomson Ave, Vandam Street and Queens Boulevard and did my own looking into the geographical quirks of that area of Newtown/Dutch Kills and walked across both the Thomson Avenue and Queens Boulevard bridges literally hundreds of times.

There is a bit of confusion on the spelling of Thomson (no P) as illustrated in located about a block from the aforesaid intersection. For tons of photos and other documentation on history of the area you can go to the second floor of LaGuardia Community College occupying a large footprint in this area. The LaGuardia & Wagner archives mounted some fascinating displays that I browsed when I worked across the street. I don’t know if there is currently any public access to the building as there was when I haunted the area, but it is worth checking into.

Punto October 14, 2021 - 9:36 am

I meant to include the link for the LaGuardia/Wagner Archives

Joe+Fliel October 14, 2021 - 11:53 am

The canopy was constructed after 2005. I used to walk over the bridge almost daily up to then and it was nothing but open sky.

Nirmal October 15, 2021 - 9:28 am

I remember traversing this thing a few years ago when I was at LaGuardia community college nearby. I traversed it when I was either lost, or on the occasions I took the subway to the school (I usually took the q60 or q32!)

George+Cassidy October 15, 2021 - 6:48 pm

One on me. Where does Queens Boulevard go over the Sunnyside Yards?

Kevin Walsh October 16, 2021 - 3:07 pm

East of Queens Plaza.


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