THERE’S a curious diagonal road, in two separate pieces, in Borough Park called Old New Utrecht Road. Shown above is the two-block piece between 14th Avenue and 36th Street that cuts across Church Avenue, and further south is a four-block piece between 48th and 52nd Streets between 17th and 18th Avenue. This was once a main farm road in Kings County from a long time before the existing street grid was laid out in the late 19th Century called the Old Road from New Utrecht to Flatbush.
Somewhere along the way, the Old Road From New Utrecht To Flatbush became known as simply New Utrecht Road and then Old New Utrecht Road, becoming one of the few streets to have both the seemingly mutually exclusive “Old” and “New” in its name. The “Old” was probably added to differentiate it from New Utrecht Avenue, which ran along the then-surface line Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Railroad.
Old New Utrecht Road served two purposes. It enabled local farmers to get their goods to market, and it also served as a dividing line between the farms themselves. But, after the Blythebourne and Borough Park developments got under way, the old farms were sold and then divided into lots; streets that had existed on surveyors’ charts for years were cut through in a rigid grid pattern; and our old farm roads pretty much ceased to exist as major players in the area.
And they disappeared. But wait…Old New Utrecht Road refused to go quietly. It gradually disappeared as the decades rolled on, but originally, homes were built around it, not on it. Some of those houses are still there today.
Much more on Old New Utrecht Road on this FNY page.
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From about 53rd Street south, Old New Utrecht Road is very much alive and well, living incognito as Eighteenth Avenue.
Read the article.
Old New Utrecht Road! I knew it well back in the late 50’s – early 60’s when I’d use it as a shortcut from my home on 19th Ave and 51st St to Montauk JHS on 16th Ave and 42nd St. Later, when I was going to New Utrecht HS, my newspaper route (World Telegram & The Sun) took me the full length of ONUR, from the corner of 18th Ave and 52nd St to customers deep in Borough Park. It wasn’t paved back then so it could be quite muddy or dusty. It sure didn’t look like your photo!