The History of Long Island City: Details of its Short-Lived Days as Both an Incorporated Municipality and the Major Western Terminus of the Long Island Rail Road

East River Ferry Terminal and Manhattan Skyline, Long Island City (April 19, 2014)
East River Ferry Terminal and Manhattan Skyline, Long Island City (April 19, 2014)

The area of northwestern Long Island is currently comprised of the Queens neighborhoods of Astoria and Long Island City.  Smaller locales carry the names of Blissville, Hunter’s Point, Ravenswood, Steinway, and Sunnyside.  Newtown Creek and the East River provide a natural border at water’s edge.  A tributary of Newtown Creek known as Dutch Kills lies to the east of Long Island City and once flowed as far north as Sunnyside.  However, the need to fill in the waterway cut its length by more than half.  Sunswick Creek which was located to the east of Ravenswood and Hunter’s Point met the same fate.  In the nineteenth century, the communities consolidated to establish the former municipality known as Long Island City. At this time, Long Island City was also the terminal for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). While no longer its own city, the locale is an urban district within the City of New York. Although mass transit access to Manhattan runs underground, the community is still served by the steel rail. The following is a complete history of both Long Island City and railroading within its borders.

Early Settlements on Northwestern Long Island and the American Revolution

The development of modern Hunter’s Point and Astoria dates back to the early seventeenth century. Under direction of the Dutch government on Manhattan Island at New Amsterdam, a charter was granted to Reverend Francis Doughty by Dutch Governor Kieft for a township, later called Newtown, on the western shores of Long Island. However, later in the century all Dutch lands on Manhattan and Long Island were seized by the English. On November 1, 1683, Queens County was organized by an act of the Colonial Assembly. One of the twelve original counties of the Province of New York, Queens was named in honor of Queen Catherine of Braganza, queen to King Charles II of England who reigned from 1638 to 1705. It was later subdivided into the five townships of Flushing, Hempstead, Jamaica, Newtown, and Oyster Bay. All lands of what became Long Island City in 1870 were in the town of Newtown. Following consolidation with the City of New York in 1898, Long Island City and western Queens County became part of the Borough of Queens.[1]

Prior to Reverend Doughty’s charter, sometime between 1633 and 1638, Jacques Bentyn, a director of Dutch Governor Wouter Van Twiller’s council and a member of the West India Company, obtained a grant of about 160 acres in today’s Astoria section of Queens along the East River. Bentyn secured a few tenants to clear and cultivate the lands, and erected buildings. His tenure as owner was brief as he fled to Manhattan following an Indian outbreak in 1643.[2]

Nine years later, the land was granted to William Hallett, an Englishman from Connecticut, by then-governor Peter Stuyvesant. Henceforth known as Hallett’s Point, the land encompassed a peninsula that extended from the river at Hallett’s Cove east to present-day Twenty-Ninth Street. After establishing a farm, Hallett was forced to abandon the lands following renewed hostilities with the Indians in 1655. Nonetheless, in August of 1664 he returned and purchased a larger track of land from Indian Chief Mattano, sachem of Staten Island and the Noyack Indians. The 2,200 acres encompassed his original property and the lands of current Astoria and Steinway, which extended to Bowery Bay and the current non-existent Sunswick Creek. Following the English capture of New Amsterdam, Hallett’s estate was confirmed in a patent dated April 8, 1668 and called the Hell Gate Neck tract. He then proceeded to buy up all neighboring lands, present-day North Astoria and Steinway along the East River. Inland was a great swamp called in colonial days Lubbert’s Swamp after its Dutch owner. The north shore also featured two islands which are both now joined to the mainland. One was Berrien’s Island at about Crescent Street to Thirty-Third Street.[3] The Hallett land remained in family hands to the late nineteenth century. The family burial plot was removed in April of 1905 and is presently in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth.[4]

East River and Hallett’s Cove (north view), Rainey Park (June 12, 2013)
East River and Hallett’s Cove (north view), Rainey Park (June 12, 2013)

South of Hallett’s Point along the East River was a narrow stretch of land that extended to the marshes and meadows surrounding Sunswick Creek to the east. At the time of the consolidation of Long Island City, it was known as Ravenswood and began at the intersection of Vernon Avenue and Broadway. From here, it continued along the shore to about Forty-Fourth Avenue. The first settler was Captain Francis Fyn, a Dutch officer, in 1651.[5]

East River and Roosevelt Island Bridge (south view), Rainey Park (June 12, 2013)
East River and Roosevelt Island Bridge (south view), Rainey Park (June 12, 2013)

South of Ravenswood is present-day Hunter’s Point, Dutch Kills, and Blissville. Prior to 1850, the area was a vast low-lying meadow which flooded at every tide. The downtown part of Hunter’s Point, the junction of Jackson and Vernon Avenues, was a small island. Salt marshes were prevalent as far northward as Forty-Fourth Drive and eastward to Van Dam Street in the vicinity of Dutch Kills, the headwaters of which extended the marsh land along the line of Jackson Avenue. In 1643, the first Dutch Reformed minister at New Amsterdam, Everard Bogardus, was granted 130 acres along Newtown Creek in what is now Hunter’s Point. It came to be known as Dominie’s Hook. Huguenot Captain Peter Praa purchased the property in 1697 and willed it to his daughter Anne’s children. One child, Jacob Bennett, left the hook to his daughter Anna who married Captain George Hunter. Thus, the area received its present name.[6]

In 1643, the area surrounding Dutch Kills was secured by Richard Brutnall, Tyman Jansen, and Burger Jorissen. Brutnall attained 100 acres on the east side of the Kills near its junction with Newtown Creek. The western edge of this land later became the property of the Debevoise family. The eastern area passed to Richard Alsop whose house and burial grounds were inside the present Calvary Cemetery. Jansen acquired lands on the west bank of the Kills and constructed a water-powered grist mill.  As early as 1670 a ferry ran across Newtown Creek to what is now Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn. The creek, which the local Indians called Mispat, allowed farmers to exchange their produce with the town of Bushwick in Kings County.[7]

Newtown Creek and Kosciusko Bridge, Blissville (January 28, 2006)
Newtown Creek and Kosciusko Bridge, Blissville (January 28, 2006)

While there were no battles, northwestern Long Island played a role in the American Revolution. In August of 1776 the patriots were beaten in the Battle of Long Island at Brooklyn and the British occupied Queens County until 1783.[8] As a result, a fleet was maintained in Newtown Creek and patrol boats guarded Long Island Sound. British and Hessian troops were quartered along Skillman Avenue in present-day Long Island City. At this time there were roads on both the east and west bank of Dutch Kills, and one road across it. The west road is approximately today’s Jackson Avenue, and the east is approximately Van Dam Street. The crossing is approximately today’s Forty-Second Avenue. In order to control movement over the few established roads the British secured what was called the Narrow Passage at the junction of today’s Northern Boulevard, Woodside Avenue, and Newtown Avenue. To provide quarters for the garrison personnel, huts were constructed east of the Kills in modern-day Sunnyside.[9]

LIRR Montauk Division (background) and Montauk Cut-Off (foreground) crossing Dutch Kills, Long Island City (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Montauk Division (background) and Montauk Cut-Off (foreground) crossing Dutch Kills, Long Island City (January 28, 2006)

Prior to the war, there was little commercial activity in Astoria. There was a grist mill at Sunswick Creek and three schools. During the war, there was a battery along Hell Gate in modern Astoria where the British kept constant watch over the river. It was at Hell Gate on November 25, 1780 that the frigate “Hussar” was wrecked while navigating the dangerous channel at Pot Rock reef. The Rhode Island-bound vessel sank with all aboard and $5-million in gold in its hold.[10] One lasting effect of the British presence was the incorporation of ferry service. In light of the steady movement across the river, Newtown merchant Peter Fitzsimmons established the first regular ferry service to New York in May of 1782.[11]

Hell Gate and upper Manhattan Skyline, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
Hell Gate and upper Manhattan Skyline, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)

The Nineteenth Century

Like most areas in the United States, the nineteenth century brought great change to northwestern Long Island. Rural locales were transformed into urban landscapes where industry developed and expanded. The urbanization of Hunter’s Point and Astoria in the late nineteenth century provided the catalyst for the consolidation of neighboring communities into Long Island City.

By the 1830s, Hallett’s Point was primarily owned by the Blackwell family. It was at this time that Stephen Alling Halsey arrived. The son of a carpenter and lumber dealer, Halsey was born in New York on April 7, 1798 and became involved in the fur business in New York with the firm John C. Halsey & Co. at 185 Water Street. He moved to Hallett’s Point and commuted via ferry from Hell Gate to Manhattan. At this time, the ferry landing boasted only a few houses and taverns. However, Halsey envisioned transforming the modest seaside area into a proper village. Between 1835 and 1841, streets were laid, and houses and stores erected. The first major roads were the Hallett’s Cove and Flushing Turnpike Company, today’s Astoria Boulevard, and the Ravenswood, Hallett’s Cove and Williamsburgh Turnpike and Bridge Company, today’s Vernon Avenue. The latter was the first to bridge Newtown Creek. Next, Halsey bought the Hell Gate ferry and improved both service and the waterfront landing.[12] On April 17, 1839, the community was incorporated as the village of Astoria. It was named after the prominent fur merchant, John Jacob Astor, in hopes that he would finance a new Episcopal Female Seminary. However, in the end Astor only contributed $500.[13]

Astoria quickly developed into an urban center. New industries included the Hallett’s Cove Marine Railway for the repair of ships and Grant Thorburn’s Nursery.[14] Along the shore of Hallett’s Cove were coal and lumber yards, and shipyards. Besides the ferry to New York, the Knickerbocker Stage Coach Line of Messrs. Johnson & Hudson provided service to Greenpoint along Vernon Boulevard. To the north of the village was an area known as the “hill” where large high-class estates complete with mansions lined the waterfront along the East River.[15]

Hunter’s Point was next to grow in the Industrial Age. On June 17, 1835 the Hunter estate was sold to Jeremiah Johnson. Johnson was the acting agent for Reverend Eliphalet Nott, a Connecticut minister and president of Union College at Schenectady. Nott, who was interested in steam navigation, partnered with Neziah Bliss, a builder of steamboats and steam mills. Together they planned to develop waterfront real estate and purchased the Griffin farm in Greenpoint, the Hunter farm, and the modern-day Blissville section along Newtown Creek and Dutch Kills. With the work of partners Jonathan Crane and Charles Ely, Hunter’s Point was graded and leveled into lots ready to be sold. Next, Nott set up the Nott Trust which assigned one-third of property and revenue sales to Union College. In 1854, the first buildings were constructed on the north side of Borden Avenue. Henry Sheldon Anable was added to the team as an estate manager and consequently the Van Alst farm was acquired, doubling the size of Hunter’s Point. Ferry service to East Thirty-Fourth Street in Manhattan began on April 20, 1859. A James Slip ferry was added on June 13, 1860. By 1860, the Hunter’s Point Trust was set up whereby Union College controlled all the land in Hunter’s Point. The two trusts operated until 1884.[16]

East of Hunter’s Point along Newton Creek, modern-day Blissville and Laurel Hill developed as well. By 1812, a bridge was built which connected to Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn. In 1836, the Penny Bridge was constructed from near present-day Calvary Cemetery to connect with Meeker Avenue. A ferry to Manhattan was established in 1853 at about the same location. In the 1850s, the Blissville Drawbridge was built but residents still referred to it as the Penny Bridge. Connecting with Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, the erection of the first drawbridge over the creek allowed for larger ships to pass. The first Calvary Cemetery also began during the nineteenth century. Consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in August 1848, the cemetery was established by the Trustees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral who purchased the former Alsop farm.[17]

Calvary Cemetery and Manhattan skyline (October 14, 2013)
Calvary Cemetery and Manhattan skyline (October 14, 2013)

In 1814, Colonel George Gibbs purchased land due north of Hunter’s Point intent on transforming it into a private residential park. He adopted the name Ravenswood, purportedly suggested either by Lord Willoughby who owned land at Woolsey’s Point or by Reverend Francis L. Hawks, after the Right Reverend John S. Ravenscroft, Bishop of North Carolina. Following Gibbs’s death, his wife continued the project and the first four lots were sold about 1848. Mansions were built on large tracts of land along the East River and ferry service to Manhattan was added at Thirty-Seventh Avenue.[18]

Early Railroading on Western Long Island

The Hunter’s Point section of what became Long Island City was an important railroad terminal for the better half of six decades. Both freight and passengers were hauled into and out of the emerging community. Known for its daily service to Manhattan, people from all over Long Island came to Hunter’s Point to ferry across the East River. Prior to the opening of both Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan and the Queensborough Bridge, ferry service was the only means of traveling to Manhattan from western Queens.

The first railroad chartered on Long Island was the Brooklyn & Jamaica Railroad in 1832. As completed in 1834, it ran ten miles from the Brooklyn waterfront to Jamaica. In the same year, the most important railroad on Long Island was chartered by a special act of the State Legislature on April 24, 1834. The Long Island Rail Road Company was to build a line from the village of Greenport west through the middle of the island, to the village of Williamsburgh.[19] Devised as a link from Boston to South Carolina, the LIRR opened April 18, 1836. By leasing the Brooklyn & Jamaica Railroad the road reached the waterfront and temporarily halted construction of a route to Williamsburgh. In 1837 it reached Hicksville[20] and finally in 1844 it was completed to Greenport. On July 27 of that year the first train ran from Brooklyn to Greenport. For several years the line transported passengers to Greenport where they were ferried to a connecting railroad to Boston.[21] Although engineers assured management that no railroad competitor could be built along the Connecticut waterfront to Boston, by 1850 a shore line was completed. Thus, the LIRR lost all its business. As a consequence, the company went into receivership and focused on local traffic.[22]

The Flushing Railroad Company was the first railroad to provide service to northwestern Long Island. Opened on June 26, 1854, the line ran east from Hunter’s Point along Newtown Creek to the Penny Bridge in Blissville and then northeast to Flushing.[23] The railroad provided a station for the communities of Hunter’s Point and Blissville. Hunter’s Point Station included a shanty on the corner of Fifty-Fourth Avenue and Fifth Street.[24] A stone embankment extended into the river where steamship service ferried passengers to Fulton Street in Manhattan.[25] The Flushing Railroad also ran stagecoaches on the Ravenswood, Hallett’s Cove and Williamsburgh Turnpike between Hunter’s Point and Greenpoint. Penny Bridge Station, located at the bridge to Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn, served Calvary Cemetery and the neighboring communities of Blissville and Laurel Hill. No station building was built.[26] In the summer of 1855, there were six daily westbound trains leaving Flushing for Hunter’s Point at 3 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Ferries connected with both east and westbound trains at Hunter’s Point Station.[27] By early 1859 service remained steady with six daily trains in both directions.[28] However, the company went bankrupt in April of 1859 and was sold to railroad financier, and future LIRR President Oliver Charlick. Ferry service ceased as well.[29]

Hunter’s Point Station
Flushing & New York Railroad
(Fifty-Fourth Avenue & Fifth Street)
Historical Fact
Date
Station and depot building opened June 26, 1854
Flushing & New York Railroad purchased by New York & Flushing Railroad April 1859
Station closed March 31, 1862
Station reopened by South Side Railroad August 6, 1870 (author’s analysis)
Station closed Summer 1874 (author’s analysis)
Penny Bridge Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened by the Flushing & New York Railroad June 26, 1854 (author’ analysis)
Flushing & New York Railroad purchased by the New York & Flushing Railroad April 1859
Station renamed Calvary Cemetery Station By June 1959
Station closed November 14, 1869
Station reopened by the South Side Railroad as Penny Bridge Station August 6, 1870
South Side Railroad purchased and consolidated into the Long Island Rail Road Summer 1874 – 1876
Station closed July 1880 (author’s analysis)
Station reopened June 2, 1883
Three-sided, saltbox-roofed wooden passenger shelter erected 1902
Wooden passenger shelter replaced 1921
Wooden passenger shelter razed Late 1970s (author’s analysis)
Last Passenger Service March 13, 1998
Station closed March 16, 1998
Location of the former Flushing & New York RR Hunter’s Point Station, Fifty-Fourth Avenue, view west (April 19, 2014)
Location of the former Flushing & New York RR Hunter’s Point Station, Fifty-Fourth Avenue, view west (April 19, 2014)
Location of the former LIRR Penny Bridge Station platforms and shelter, view west (January 28, 2006)
Location of the former LIRR Penny Bridge Station platforms and shelter, view west (January 28, 2006)

Under Charlick, the Flushing Railroad operated as the New York & Flushing Railroad (NY & Flushing RR). In the summer of 1859, there were six daily trains both eastbound and westbound. Under NY & Flushing RR operation, Penny Bridge Station was renamed Calvary Cemetery.[30] Construction of a new 700-foot long dock at Hunter’s Point, complete with a depot and ferry house, commenced in May of 1859 and was completed in 1860.[31]

Meanwhile the LIRR was faced with a ferry terminal dilemma. Local opposition to the use of steam locomotives along the right-of-way to the Brooklyn waterfront forced the railroad to abandon service. With a plan to deed it to the LIRR, statesman and financier E.B. Litchfield built the New York & Jamaica Railroad (NY & Jamaica RR). It ran Jamaica to Winfield, where it crossed the NY & Flushing RR, and onto Hunter’s Point.[32] Charlick, influential with LIRR operations, arranged for joint use of the Hunter’s Point railroad yards and ferry dock. On May 6, 1861 the first LIRR freight train ran into Hunter’s Point, followed three days later by the first passenger train. All LIRR trains were diverted to the new terminal by September 30, 1861 where they connected with Thirty-Fourth Street-bound ferries.[33] A new depot was constructed at a cost of over $20,000.[34] The 800-foot long facility was built of heavy timber, served both passengers and freight, and held the company offices.[35] It opened on May 9, 1861.[36]

Long Island City Station
Historical Fact
Date
Depot building constructed May 1859 – 1860
Station and depot building opened as Hunter’s Point Station May 9, 1861
Renamed Long Island City By December 1868
Depot building remodeled April 1878
Depot building remodeled April 1881
Depot building replaced July 1891
Depot building destroyed by fire December 18, 1902
Depot building replaced Winter – Spring 1903
Depot building opened April 27, 1903
Depot building remodeled January 1904
Depot building remodeled June 1906
Depot building remodeled June 1906
Station agency closed 1917
Depot building depot razed 1938
Three-sided, saltbox-roofed wooden passenger shelter erected By 1990s (author’s analysis)
Wooden passenger shelter razed By 1999 (author’s analysis)
Wood platform and ramp in service By 1999 (author’s analysis)
Twin island-type, high-level concrete platform and ramp constructed By 2003 (author’s analysis)

By 1864, the LIRR winter timetable featured daily service to and from Greenport, Yaphank, and Hempstead. Two daily trains traveled on the Main Line to Syosset. On Sundays, an excursion train left Hunter’s Point at 9:30 a.m. for Yaphank, making all local station stops, and returned later in the day. Ferry service at Hunter’s Point was either to James Slip or Thirty-Forth Street in Manhattan.[37] As a result of the new depot, the former NY & Flushing RR’s Hunter’s Point Station and depot was abandoned on March 31, 1862. All NY & Flushing RR trains now used the LIRR depot.[38] By 1866, ten daily trains departed Hunter’s Point bound for Flushing and the LIRR provided three daily through trains to Greenport, one to Farmingdale, and two to Syosset, as well as the Sunday Yaphank train. A subsidiary, the Brooklyn, Central & Jamaica Railroad, provided six trains to Jamaica daily and one to Greenport. Saturdays featured two Greenport-bound trains.[39]

LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard and Manhattan Skyline, aerial view west (June 12, 2013)
LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard and Manhattan Skyline, aerial view west (June 12, 2013)

The Consolidation of Long Island City

In 1870, the communities of northwestern Long Island consolidated to form a city. By this time, the area transformed into an urban center. Industry flourished and the population steadily increased. Multiple railroad companies provided passenger and freight service. Although the municipality known as Long Island City only lasted twenty-seven years, it united several small communities into one powerful metropolis that sought an improved infrastructure and the augmentation of undeveloped lands.

In the 1860s, Hunter’s Point became the center of the region.  The opening of Jackson Avenue on July 13, 1860 changed the area’s traffic patterns, funneling all carriages and wagons from Flushing and Elmhurst into Hunter’s Point and the ferry terminals. The road was lined with businesses such as hotels, saloons, restaurants, and boarding houses, as well as private homes.[40] It was followed by the construction of the Hunter’s Point and Blissville Road (today’s Borden Avenue) in the late 1860s and Thomson Avenue (the greater part of which became Queens Boulevard).[41] Opening on May 11, 1869, the Nassau Railroad Company provided local service along Borden Avenue.[42] The construction of a canal from the river to Vernon Avenue along Forty-Fifth Road forged the growth of industry along the waterfront. Bulkheads were also created along Newtown Creek between 1868 and 1869.[43] The community also boasted its first newspaper, the Long Island City Star and Newtown Advertiser in 1865.[44]

Prior to consolidation, Astoria was mainly residential. In the 1860s, there were several hotels such as the Astoria, the National, and the Peconic House.[45] The completion of the first street-rail from Astoria to Hunter’s Point allowed the village to connect with its southern neighbor. On May 1, 1861 the line was completed from Hunter’s Point to Schwalenberg’s Park, or current Bridge Plaza. By June 19, through rail service to Astoria commenced and the stagecoach-era ended. The rail connection with Hunter’s Point also allowed for development of the intervening area.[46]

Outside of Astoria, Blissville, Hunter’s Point, and Ravenswood, much of the area was sparsely populated and rural. However, a group of cabinet makers pioneered a village in the late 1860s. The group represented the United Cabinet Workers Cooperative Association, a guild of Old-World German furniture craftsmen. In 1869 they established the German Settlement and began laying out roads and erecting homes. They also opened the entertainment area known as Schuetzen Park. The community remained a distinct part of Long Island City until the First World War.[47]

The first public meeting for consolidation was held on January 4, 1869. Advocates were men such as Henry Sheldon Anable and the editor of the Long Island City Star, Thomas H. Todd. One of the primary arguments was that the town of Newtown was unresponsive to the needs of the growing metropolis. The town government was in a rural location in today’s Elmhurst and out of touch with Hunter’s Point. On the other hand, Astoria by and large was against consolidation since they were already incorporated. Ravenswood generally opposed union with Hunter’s Point since estate owners wanted to maintain isolation. A public referendum on February 16, 1869 determined that 299 people approved the union of Astoria, Blissville, Dutch Kills, Hunter’s Point, and Ravenswood, and 150 opposed it. In response to the vote, a city charter was drafted and presented to the State Legislature. It was approved by the Assembly and Governor John T. Hoffman signed the new legislation on May 4, 1870.[48]

The first mayor of Long Island City was Abraham D. Ditmars of Astoria. Under his leadership, the city charter was revised. New provisions provided for full separation from the town of Newtown in reference to courts, schools, and taxing. Under Ditmar’s supervision a police force was organized and the First Ward Improvement Commission established. The commission integrated the area into a master grid and laid out streets. Other improvements included the draining of marshes through ditch digging and the passage of the Free Road Bill in March of 1871 which abolished old toll roads. Lastly, since the lack of water supply plagued the new city, the State authorized a $300,000 bond to secure water. In April of 1875 the machinery was finally in place and water turned on.[49]

Unfortunately, from the beginning Long Island City was known for corrupt politics. The political battle pitted the conservative elements in Astoria versus the “Ring” in Hunter’s Point, known for patronism and easy-going government. In fact, the second mayor Henry S. Debevoise was part of the “Ring” and later exposed in a money laundering scheme. The two ideologies haunted the city for the remainder of its existence.[50]

Long Island City in the 1870s and the 1880s

In the 1870s and 1880s,  Long Island City became the center of Queens County and the dangerous Hell Gate waterway was improved. Also, the new community of Steinway was developed. Lastly, railroading in and out of Long Island City hit its peak. New tracks were laid and new railroad subsidiaries established.

The most important building in Long Island City was the new Queens County Courthouse. Previously, the courthouse was located in Jamaica and then Mineola. However, by the late nineteenth century pressure escalated to relocate the structure to urban Hunter’s Point considering all the major railroads terminated on the waterfront. A site was selected and the $276,000 structure was completed in 1877.[51]

For centuries, the treacherous waters off Hell Gate were a menace to navigation. However, in the 1870s the reefs off the Astoria shore were destroyed. The rocks featured names such as Pot Rock, the Gridiron, the Frying Pan, Mill Rock, Hog’s Head, and Bald-headed Billy. By 1876, traveling through the strait was safer.[52]

In 1850, Henry Englehardt Steinway came to New York from Germany. He opened the first Steinway piano factory in March of 1853. Within five years the company expanded and sought a new location for their factory. The Steinways selected a part of northeastern Astoria called “Luyster’s Island,” current Thirty-Sixth through Forty-Ninth Streets north of Twentieth Avenue. The land was acquired and a mansion was erected in the summer of 1870. A four-story piano case factory was completed by the summer of 1879. Prior to the construction of the factory, the family created Steinway village. For access to the river, Steinway Street was created.  Then, the Long Island City Shore Railroad opened along Vernon Avenue with extensions to Steinway. The Steinways also donated land for a union church and erected a public bath. Lastly, William Steinway merged all the street railways of Long Island City in 1883 into the Steinway & Hunter’s Point Railroad Company and built a massive car depot to transport his workers to the Steinway village.[53]

Steinway Mansion, Astoria (April 19, 2014)
Steinway Mansion, Astoria (April 19, 2014)

Steam rail service in and out of Long Island City climaxed in the 1870s as several railroad companies and branch lines were created. Unhappy with the NY & Flushing RR, Flushing residents established the Flushing & Woodside Railroad in 1864. The route was was planned to run from Woodside to Flushing and onto Whitestone. However, during construction the NY & Flushing RR was sold to the LIRR and utilized as a branch from Hunter’s Point to Flushing. Thus, the proposed Flushing & Woodside Railroad construction was postponed. Subsequently, a group of College Point and Whitestone men, under the leadership of Conrad Poppenhusen, bought the line and incorporated it as the Flushing & North Side Railroad Company (Flushing & North Side RR). From its western terminus in Hunter’s Point, the route ran north of the LIRR right-of-way to Corona and Flushing Creek. It opened in August of 1869. Facing competition, the LIRR sold the recently purchased NY & Flushing RR between Winfield and Flushing to the Flushing & North Side RR. Soon after, the Flushing & North Side RR built a road from Woodside to Winfield and operated trains via the new route from Winfield to Flushing Main Street beginning in 1872.[54] In spite of the NY & Flushing RR sale, the LIRR still owned the right-of-way from Winfield to Penny Bridge and onto Hunter’s Point. However, it was not utilized and as a result service to Penny Bridge Station was abandoned on November 14, 1869.[55]

By December of 1868, both the Long Island and Flushing & North Side renamed their Hunter’s Point stations to Long Island City Station.  The Flushing & North Side RR Long Island City Station was at Fifty-First Avenue between Second Street and the East River. Construction of the station began on October 29, 1869. Featuring covered passageways, the station received trains beginning November 15, 1869. It was enlarged in June of 1872.[56] The Flushing & North Side RR became the Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad Company.

Long Island City Station
Flushing & North Side Railroad
(Fifty-First Avenue & Second Street)
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened August 1869
Depot building construction began October 29, 1869
Depot building opened November 15, 1869
Depot building remodeled June 1872
Station closed May 27, 1878
Location of the former Flushing & North Side RR Hunter’s Point Station, Fifty-First Avenue and Second Street, view west (April 19, 2014)
Location of the former Flushing & North Side RR Hunter’s Point Station, Fifty-First Avenue and Second Street, view west (April 19, 2014)

In response, the LIRR developed the Newtown & Flushing Railroad. Known as the “White Line” because its cars were painted white, it left the Main Line at the old New York & Flushing Junction in Winfield and ran east, through Newtown, across Flushing Creek into Flushing.[57] The route established two new stations within Long Island City. Schwalenberg’s Park Station was in the area now known as Queens Plaza where Queens Boulevard crosses over Sunnyside Yard. The station was named after William Schwalenberg who operated a hotel and saloon on Jackson Avenue. Service began July 19, 1875 for residents inconvenienced by the closing of the Astoria & Hunter’s Point horse car line. The other station was Sunnyside. Located at Thirty-Fifth Street on the north side of the track near the Sunnyside Hotel on Jackson Avenue, the station also opened on July 19, 1875. A gothic depot building was built between September and December of 1875 at a cost of $1,000.[58]

Schwalenberg’s Park Station
(Newtown & Flushing Railroad)
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened July 19, 1875
Station closed April 17, 1876
Sunnyside Station
(Newtown & Flushing Railroad)
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened July 19, 1875
Depot building opened September – December 1875
Station closed April 17, 1876
Location of the former LIRR Schwalenberg’s Park Station, Queens Plaza, view southwest, Long Island City (April 19, 2014)
Location of the former LIRR Schwalenberg’s Park Station, Queens Plaza, view southwest, Long Island City (April 19, 2014)
Location of the former LIRR Sunnyside Station, Honeywell Street and Northern Boulevard, view south (April 19, 2014)
Location of the former LIRR Sunnyside Station, Honeywell Street and Northern Boulevard, view south (April 19, 2014)

Yet another railroad to create a terminal in Long Island City was the South Side Railroad. Unhappy running dummy engines to carry freight to the Brooklyn waterfront, the South Side Railroad organized the Hunter’s Point & South Side Railroad. A new route was built from Bushwick Junction along Newtown Creek to a junction with the old NY & Flushing RR right-of-way at Penny Bridge. This is today’s Montauk Division of the LIRR. The South Side Railroad then consolidated the new route and began running on August 6, 1870 to the old depot at Fifty-Fourth Avenue and Fifth Street. In 1874, Poppenhusen became president of the South Side Railroad and the Bushwick to Brooklyn passenger route was abandoned in favor of running trains to the LIRR Long Island City Station and the old depot was closed.[59] With passenger service reinstated on the Newtown Creek route, a station stop named Penny Bridge Station was added.[60]

LIRR Montauk Division, track view west with Montauk Cut-Off right-of-way on the right, Blissville (Circa November 2002) le (Circa November 2002)
LIRR Montauk Division, track view west with Montauk Cut-Off right-of-way on the right, Blissville (Circa November 2002)

Subsequent to Poppenhusen’s ascent to LIRR president, the railroad was made the backbone of a unified system. Both the Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad Company, and the South Side Railroad, were leased to the LIRR. All passenger trains operated out of the LIRR Long Island City Station. The station at Fifty-First Avenue was reutilized for freight and for LIRR Brighton Beach service in the summer of 1878, as north side trains abandoned the station on May 27, 1878.[61] Trains on the White Line were discontinued and the station stops at Schwalenberg’s Park and Sunnyside were abandoned as of April 17, 1876. Dated April 15, a notice was posted at each branch station stating that LIRR White Line tickets could be used on the Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad.[62] As a result of its role as the main passenger depot, the LIRR Long Island City Station was enlarged in April of 1878.[63] By April of 1881, the waiting room doubled in size and a shed was built over the yard. The tracks were arranged so that five cars could be loaded at a time.[64]

LIRR Montauk Division and Bliss Cabin, east of Montauk Cut-Off junction, track view west, Blissville (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Montauk Division and Bliss Cabin, east of Montauk Cut-Off junction, track view west, Blissville (January 28, 2006)

New subsidiary railroads utilized the LIRR Long Island City Station as well. The New York, Woodhaven & Rockaway Beach Railroad Company began using the station in March of 1880 whereby the LIRR would haul trains from Long Island City to Glendale.[65] The Long Island City & Manhattan Beach Railroad began on June 2, 1883.[66] It was later called the New York, Brooklyn & Manhattan Beach Railway and became a branch of the LIRR.[67] Penny Bridge Station, which was closed by the LIRR in July of 1880, was again reopened and Manhattan Beach Branch trains made stops beginning in 1883 until 1924.[68]

LIRR Penny Bridge Station, view east at Meeker Avenue crossing with Kosciusko Bridge in background (Circa September 1996)
LIRR Penny Bridge Station, view east at Meeker Avenue crossing with Kosciusko Bridge in background (Circa September 1996)

As railroading advanced in Long Island City, so did the overall economy. Population increased and more homes were built. In an effort to improve moral, gambling and book-making were outlawed in 1882. In addition, prominent Astoria citizens organized a Law and Order Society and petitioned Mayor Debevoise to enforce law or resign from office. Not only did the mayor not leave office, he managed to win a second term. However, his opponent in the election, George Petry, filed a lawsuit in May of 1881 claiming that Debevoise hired aides to tilt the vote. Ultimately, the State Supreme Court ruled that the election results were flawed and Petry was legitimately elected as mayor. During his term in office, Petry attempted to bring down the “Ring” and reform city government.[69]

One of the most colorful Long Island City mayors was Patrick Jerome Gleason. Born in Parish of Drum Town of Fishmoyne, Ireland on April 25, 1844,[70] Gleason arrived in Long Island City and established a horse carriage line to Calvary Cemetery in 1874. After amassing a fortune, he sold the business to Steinway and entered politics. Receiving the vote of the working-class Irish, Gleason defeated Petry in the 1886 election and was elected mayor. He was known as a “boss” and dominated city government by appointing himself presiding officer of the Boards of Education, Water Supply, and Police. Sadly his tenure was known for corruption. He controlled all appointments to the Board of Assessors and used the board for his own purposes.[71] After winning a second term he was defeated by Horatio S. Sanford. Sanford attempted to restore public confidence in the city’s institutions and finances.[72] Indeed, the early 1890s saw the break-up of the old landholding order. Both farms and big estates fell to land holding companies.[73]

During his years in office, Gleason was known for criticism of the LIRR. A situation arose when the company fenced off Front Street so that there was no access to the area without a train ticket. Upon hearing this, Gleason grabbed an axe and physically destroyed both the railroad gates and fence on the evening of July 18, 1888. He won a lawsuit filed against him for the attack and later proceeded to destroy the railroad’s express sheds. After winning a second case, he was referred to as “Battle Axe Gleason.”[74]

LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, entrance (Circa September 1996)
LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, entrance (Circa September 1996)

Gleason was re-elected mayor in 1895. However, he only served two years of a three-year term as consolidation with the City of Greater New York removed him from office and brought an end to the twenty-seven year-old city.[75] Both Gleason and William Steinway publicly endorsed consolidation for the good of Long Island City. Gleason died from heart disease on May 20, 1901.[76] In its short existence Long Island City more than doubled in population. There were 15,609 people in 1875 as compared with 48,272 in 1900.[77]

Consolidation with the City of Greater New York

Present-day New York City consists of five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. In its 1897 charter, the consolidation of Greater New York was “an act to unite into one municipality under the corporate name of The City of New York, the various communities lying in and about New York Harbor, including the City and County of New York, the City of Brooklyn and County of Kings, the County of Richmond, and part of the County of Queens, and to provide for the government thereof.”[78] Following the annexation of neighboring territory, in 1897 the City of Brooklyn, included all of Kings County, and the City and County of New York encompassed all of the present-day Boroughs of the Bronx and Manhattan. The County of Richmond consisted of Staten Island. The part of the County of Queens consolidated was the three western-most towns and Long Island City.[79]

Following consolidation, vast tracks of undeveloped land in the territory of what was Long Island City were converted into residential or industrial use. In 1903 Consolidated Edison filled in a creek in East Astoria and established Consolidated Gas Company. Two years later the construction of the gas generating plant began. Further east, Riker’s Island became a small penal colony branch of New York City’s Department of Corrections. The first prisoners arrived in 1903.[80]

In Astoria, a new park was established. On June 17, 1904, the New York City Board of Estimate announced plans to develop the land along the waterfront at Hell Gate.   On December 16, 1913, the fifty-six acre site was officially named Astoria Park.[81] Sadly, on the morning of June 15, 1904, the steamboat General Slocum caught fire in the East River at Hell Gate near present-day Astoria Park. Of the approximately 3,000 people on board an estimated 1,021 people died. The triple-decker wooden side paddler was chartered that morning by Saint Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manhattan. The parish served the Lower East Side and the vessel carried a large group of German immigrants. The disaster carried the worst death toll in New York City history until the September 11 attacks.[82]

General Slocum Disaster Marker, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
General Slocum Disaster Marker, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)

In Long Island City history, the most important development was the construction of the Queensborough Bridge. Discussion of a link between Manhattan and northwestern Long Island dates back to 1867. However, construction began on March 26, 1881. Thanks to the dedication of Dr. Thomas Rainey, an engineer of Ravenswood, the $18-million cantilever structure finally opened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic on March 30, 1909.[83]

Queensborough Bridge (Ed Koch Bridge), Long Island City (June 12, 2013)
Queensborough Bridge (Ed Koch Bridge), Long Island City (June 12, 2013)

In Ravenswood, the secluded residential district gave way industry. Beginning in 1875, the Citizens Gas Light Company built factories along the waterfront to receive coal. In the next two decades, more industry moved in and the estates were abandoned. Some mansions were used as factories and storehouses.[84] In recognition of his work on the Queensborough Bridge, a park was named in honor of Rainey, resident of Ravenswood. The park opened in 1916 at the site of the former Stevens Estate.[85]

Rainey Park, Ravenswood (June 12, 2013)
Rainey Park, Ravenswood (June 12, 2013)

In Hunter’s Point, the ancient Sunswick Meadow was filled in for the Queensborough Bridge and Queens Plaza. The area developed into a rapid transit hub, and a banking and commercial center.[86] In addition, the courthouse was renovated and reopened in September of 1909.[87] With the coming of the First World War, factories and light industrial plants were constructed in the community.[88] Newtown Creek became the primary site of industry. In the early 1850s there were gristmills and farms along the shoreline. However by the turn of the twentieth century, factories or refineries lined the creek.[89]

Queens County Courthouse, Long Island City (April 19, 2014)
Queens County Courthouse, Long Island City (April 19, 2014)

Following the war, many factories were converted to civilian production and apartment construction skyrocketed. East of Hunter’s Point, Sunnyside Gardens was established as the first planned community in the United States based on the English “Garden City” concept. Attracting middle-class, professional, and entertainment personalities, the community was a success until the Depression years.[90]

The East River Railroad Tunnels

The greatest change for railroading on Long Island and possibly the entire northeast United States was the construction of the East River tunnels to connect Long Island with Manhattan. According to the New York Times, the “Pennsylvania Railroad was the Prince Charming that kissed to life the Sleeping Beauty, the LIRR.”[91] The Pennsylvania Railroad takeover opened Long Island to the mainland. No longer would passengers need to take a ferry from Long Island City to Manhattan and beyond.   The completion of the tunnels in 1910 provided Long Islanders a one-seat ride to the new Pennsylvania Station on the west side of Manhattan.  Another set of tunnels under the Hudson River connected with the mainland. The four East River tunnels connected with eight tracks running to Winfield Junction. From there, six tracks would ran to Whitepot Junction, and then four tracks to Jamaica.

The Pennsylvania Railroad plan was to erect a new depot in Manhattan connected by four tunnels to Long Island where a massive rail yard was to be built. To the LIRR’s advantage, an agreement was reached between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Pennsylvania Tunnel & Terminal Railroad Company so that the LIRR could utilize both the tunnels and new depot. A connecting railroad to New England via Hell Gate was also planned.[92] Prior to completion, it was announced on December 8, 1908 that third rail electricity was to be used.[93] By the first week of August of 1910, railroad officials moved to new offices at Pennsylvania Station.[94] The first train ran into the new station on September 10, 1910.[95]

In Long Island City, the project began in earnest when Pennsylvania Railroad agents began buying all land and houses between Skillman Avenue and Northern Boulevard, from Twenty-First Street to Forty-Third Street. Many of the homes purchased, while fairly new, were razed. In 1907, an entire twenty-acre hill in Sunnyside was leveled and the earth dumped into the low-lying meadow land at the headwaters of Dutch Kills. The following year, only the mouth of the Kills at Newtown Creek remained. The viaduct bridges over what was to be called Sunnyside Yard were completed in 1909.[96] They were at Thomson Avenue, Thirty-Fifth Street (Honeywell), Thirty-Ninth Street (Harold), and the new Diagonal Street to connect Queens Boulevard with Queensborough Bridge Plaza.[97] Yard lights were turned on for the first time on November 23, 1910 and the yard officially opened November 27, 1910.[98] The name Sunnyside was taken from a small roadhouse on Jackson Avenue at Thirty-Fifth Street.[99]

As part of the Bay Ridge Improvement project to advance freight operations, the Pennsylvania Railroad planned for New England-bound freight and passenger service to run through Long Island. In the scheme, there would be a direct freight connection in Sunnyside between the Main Line and Montauk Division. The connection, known as the Montauk Cut-Off, was built from the North Side yards to the Montauk Division at Dutch Kills, a distance of over two miles.[100] Another freight connection was constructed in Woodside between Fresh Pond Junction and Astoria where a high trestle led to a crossing over Hell Gate. The entire project prevented impediment of passenger service into Manhattan and work began in 1905.[101] Construction of the New England connection, known as the New York Connecting Railroad, began in 1908. The bridge over Hell Gate went into contract in 1911 and the route opened in 1917. From Steinway Street the road is a viaduct of continuous retaining walls, dirt-filled as far as Twenty-Ninth Street, with seventy spans crossing streets at an altitude of fifty feet. From Twenty-Ninth Street to Hell Gate the rails rest on thirty-two steel piers. Underneath the bridge in the Ditmars section was built the first large apartment complex in Astoria.[102]

New York Connecting Railroad Bridge, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
New York Connecting Railroad Bridge, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
Hell Gate and New York Connecting Railroad Bridge, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
Hell Gate and New York Connecting Railroad Bridge, Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
New York Connecting Railroad, Astoria (April 19, 2014)
New York Connecting Railroad, Astoria (April 19, 2014)
New York Connecting Railroad, Grand Central Parkway (April 19, 2014)
New York Connecting Railroad, Grand Central Parkway (April 19, 2014)

Although the completion of Pennsylvania Station directed the greater part of traffic to Manhattan, Long Island City Station and ferry service to East Thirty-Fourth Street was slated to remain open. Within a year, all steam service of the LIRR was envisioned to terminate at Jamaica and electric trains would run into Long Island City.[103] While the road through Winfield to Jamaica was to be the main line route of electric service to Long Island City and Pennsylvania Station, the route from Hunter’s Point to Jamaica on the Montauk Division through Queens would be subsidiary and not electrified. Subsequent to the acquisition of the South Side Railroad, the majority of LIRR service to Long Island City utilized the old south road, current Montauk Division. By the summer of 1903, of the roughly 100 trains into and out of Hunter’s Point, nearly seventy percent utilized the Montauk Division. Only twenty-four eastbound and twenty-nine westbound trains ran on the Winfield to Jamaica route. Penny Bridge Station, being on the old South Side Railroad route, was a station stop on Manhattan Beach Branch trains, with ten eastbound trains and eleven westbound.[104]

LIRR Eleventh Street crossing, Main Line tracks to Hunterspoint Avenue Station on left and the LIRR Montauk Division tracks to Penny Bridge Station on right, Long Island City (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Eleventh Street crossing, Main Line tracks to Hunterspoint Avenue Station on left and the LIRR Montauk Division tracks to Penny Bridge Station on right, Long Island City (January 28, 2006)

The Long Island City Station depot was fairly new in 1910. As early as the summer of 1888, the railroad discussed plans for a new building. Completed in July of 1891, it was made of Trenton-pressed brick with a rock-faced granite water table and featured an eighty foot tower. A large clock atop the tower was to be visible from three sides.[105] Unfortunately, the depot burned down on December 18, 1902. A replacement building opened April 27, 1903. A 100-foot extension was added in January of 1904 and the yard was enlarged after the acquisition of all private property south to Fifty-Fourth Avenue.[106] In 1903, the terminal had four passenger and two freight tracks. Four additional tracks were laid in November of 1903 and a second story to the extension was added in June of 1906. Each platform had a flat overhead roof supported by successive posts.[107]

LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, aerial view west from signal tower (Circa 1905: David Keller Archive)
LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, aerial view west from signal tower (Circa 1905: David Keller Archive)

Penny Bridge Station provided access to the Meeker Avenue trolleys on the Brooklyn side of the creek. While no depot building was ever built, a shelter was erected in 1902 and replaced in 1921.[108] The Penny Bridge span was rebuilt in 1882 at the cost of $45,000.[109] Sadly, during construction of a new iron bridge in 1894, a tragedy occurred. A temporary foot bridge collapsed on January 12, 1894 and several men drowned in Newtown Creek.[110]

LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, view west from signal tower (Circa 1905: David Keller Archive)
LIRR Penny Bridge Station, platforms and shelter, Kosciusko Bridge in background, view southeast (Circa 1954 [Eastbound rear coach is sporting the large red marker lamp above the rear door, which was installed as a result of the deadly Thanksgiving Eve 1950 rear-end collision at Richmond Hill]: W.J. Edwards Photo, David Keller Archive)
Long Island City in the Early Twentieth Century

In the first half of the twentieth century, the area of northwestern Long Island received other infrastructure projects. The Queensborough Bridge construction was followed by other bridges as well as tunnels. While was no longer its terminus, the LIRR attempted to use Hunter’s Point as a subway transfer location to relieve congestion at Pennsylvania Station.

In July of 1910, the LIRR announced that upon completion of electrification of the North Shore Division a station would be established at the Hunter’s Point Avenue viaduct. The station would give passengers of any branch an option to use the Steinway subway tube into Manhattan to reach Times Square and Grand Central Station. It was envisioned that local trains from Jamaica to Long Island City, and North Shore Division trains, would make a stop at the proposed station. On the other hand, the station would not be a way-stop on trains bound for Manhattan since the suggested site did not have access to the tunnels.[111]

The railroad planned to wait for the completion of the Steinway subway tunnel to build the new station. However, due to demands of local property owners and residents the new Hunterspoint Avenue Station, complete with an agency, was scheduled to open July 1, 1914. It was later delayed to October 18. The station featured an island-type, four-foot tall high-level platform with a flat overhead roof of steel, wood, and fiberglass, constructed between two tracks on the Main Line to Long Island City.  The platform extended east from the Hunters Point Avenue viaduct and was accessible via a staircase leading down to the right-of-way from street-level. To reach the new station stop, passengers could change at either Woodside or Jamaica for westbound service that terminated at Long Island City Station. Eastbound service departed Long Island City Station and added a station stop at Hunterspoint Avenue. Electric service was soon installed on the route.[112] The Steinway tunnel to Lexington Avenue and Forty-Second Street opened in June of 1915.[113] The subway connection was finally realized when the Hunters Point Station of the Queensboro subway route opened on February 15, 1916.[114] Another station would be added at the intersection of Vernon and Jackson Avenues.

Hunterspoint Avenue Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station and agency on an island-type high-level platform, with a flat overhead roof of steel, wood, and fiberglass, opened as Long Island City (Hunterspoint Avenue) Station October 18, 1914
Station renamed Hunterspoint Avenue Station By 1935
High-level platform expansion began Summer 1948
High-level platform expansion opened November 22, 1948
High-level west end platform expansion completed Early 1965
LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station, platform, view west (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station, platform, view west (January 28, 2006)
New York City Subway Hunters Point Station, Hunters Point Avenue view west (April 19, 2014)
New York City Subway Hunters Point Station, Hunters Point Avenue view west (April 19, 2014)
New York City Subway Hunters Point Station, Flushing/Main Street-bound platform (May 1, 2015)
New York City Subway Hunters Point Station, Flushing/Main Street-bound platform (May 1, 2015)

The railroad’s new addition was expected to create a real estate boom. Indeed, ridership grew when the subway train connection was available. However, since summer travelers and year-round commuters no longer used the Long Island City ferries, patronage declined at the saloons, hotels and shops.  Downtown Hunter’s Point began to decline and the neighborhood deteriorated.[115] Whereas in 1910 a total of  6,332,878 passengers utilized Long Island City Station, the number was down to 1,167,037 six years later.[116] Following the opening of the Steinway Tunnel, only sixty-three commuters used the station daily.[117]

LIRR Main Line, west of Borden Avenue crossing, track view west, Long Island City (July 26, 2013)
LIRR Main Line, west of Borden Avenue crossing, track view west, Long Island City (July 26, 2013)

Despite reduced ridership, service in the first few decades of the twentieth century remained steady. In fact, in December of 1921, the Queens Chamber of Commerce asked that an additional LIRR station be constructed at Bridge Plaza for business executives of local industry who lived in Manhattan. In the end, no station was granted.[118] A few years later after a series of hearings about congestion at Pennsylvania Station, the State Public Service Commission suggested a new street terminal be built in Long Island City to link with existing rapid transit lines.[119] No such terminal was ever built. In fact, the Long Island City passenger yard was reduced and the overhead platform roofs were shortened by the 1930s. Additionally, ferry service to Manhattan was discontinued on March 3, 1925 and the depot building was later razed during construction of the Queens Midtown Tunnel in 1938.[120]

LIRR Long Island City Station, wooden shelter (March 13, 1998)
LIRR Long Island City Station, wooden shelter (March 13, 1998)

In 1916 timetables, both Hunterpoint Avenue and Long Island City were referred to as part of the Montauk Division even though it was necessary to utilize the Main Line to run trains between the two stations. Hunterspoint Avenue Station was identified as Long Island City (Hunterspoint Avenue) to differentiate it from Long Island City Station.  A good amount of trains into or out of Hunter’s Point were North Side Division, terminating or originating in Whitestone or Port Washington. Typically, Woodside Station was used as a transfer point. On the Montauk Division, four daily east and west bound Manhattan Beach Branch trains stopped at Penny Bridge Station.[121]

By 1928,  Long Island City (Hunterspoint Avenue) and Long Island City were part of the Main Line in railroad timetables. Electric service ran between the stations to points east, notably Rockaway Beach Branch trains which provided local service on the Main Line in Queens. While service to Hunter’s Point was fairly frequent at this time, Penny Bridge Station was only weekday with four morning westbound and two afternoon eastbound trains making station stops.[122]

Ultimately, the advent of the automobile forced the LIRR to the change system-wide service. As the twentieth century progressed, more people choose to drive rather than rely on the iron horse. The shift spawned many new roads and bridges into the Long Island City area. Under the guidance of master-builder Robert Moses, the Triborough Bridge was constructed to link three boroughs and two islands via four separate bridges. One bridge spanned over the Harlem River to connect Manhattan with Randall’s Island, another over Bronx Kills to join Randall’s Island with the Bronx, another linked Ward’s Island with Randall’s Island, and the last connected Ward’s Island and Astoria at Hell Gate.[123] Opening ceremonies were held on July 11, 1936.[124]

Triborough Bridge (Robert F. Kennedy Bridge), Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
Triborough Bridge (Robert F. Kennedy Bridge), Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)

Newtown Creek was also in need of a new, high-clearance bridge. In May of 1914, the Commerce Committee of the Queens Chamber of Commerce demanded a replacement for the outdated Penny Bridge at Meeker Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard. Not only was the committee seeking better trolley connections between the two boroughs, it suggested an “Askew lift” type structuer to suit the needs of industrial shipping. From 1911 to 1913, the annual value of the products shipped through Newtown Creek grew from $44 million to $68 million.[125]

No progress was made until over a decade later. In August of 1928, the Queens Chamber of Commerce pointed out that in order to secure proper traffic arteries from the proposed Triborough Bridge to a proposed Long Island City tunnel into Manhattan, new highways in Queens were needed. One route followed the New York Connecting Railroad from Astoria to Winfield, the current Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Another route connected the road at Winfield to a cross-Brooklyn express highway, requiring a new span over Newtown Creek to replace Penny Bridge.[126] After years of construction, opening ceremonies for the new $13,194,399 Meeker Avenue Bridge were held on August 23, 1939.[127] It was officially named the Kosciusko Bridge in honor of Thaddeus Kosciusko, a Polish patriot who fought in the American Revolution, on July 10, 1940. A dedication ceremony sponsored by the United Polish-American Association was held on September 22 in that year.[128]

Location of the former LIRR Penny Bridge Station platforms and shelter, Kosciusko Bridge in background, view east (January 28, 2006)
Location of the former LIRR Penny Bridge Station platforms and shelter, Kosciusko Bridge in background, view east (January 28, 2006)

The last link in the Queens highway project was the completion of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, the first underwater highway between Manhattan and Long Island. On October 2, 1936, groundbreaking for the $58 million project was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[129] Opening day was November 15, 1940 where Queens Chamber of Commerce President Arthur A. Johnson stated: “it [would] have a vital influence in opening up new residential areas not only in Queens but in Nassau County and thus [conserve] and [enhance] realty values.”[130]

Time Table for Service between All Stations Long Island City to Jamaica via Montauk Branch, 1973: Long Island City terminal and adjoining neighborhood
LIRR Richmond Hill Commemorative Timetable for Service between All Stations Long Island City to Jamaica via Montauk Branch, 1973: Long Island City terminal and adjoining neighborhood

Railroad Service in the Post World War II Years

In 1937, on the Main Line tracks there were two weekday local eastbound multi-unit electric trains from Long Island City to Jamaica.  By this time, the Long Island City tag was dropped from Hunterspoint Avenue Station in public timetables.  Westbound service scheduled two electric trains from Jamaica, and one steam from Oyster Bay. On Sundays, there was one electric train in both directions to and from Jamaica with connections to Pilgrim State Hospital. On Saturdays, there was only one eastbound electric train to Jamaica. For Penny Bridge and Long Island City Station on the Montauk Division, service was identical to 1928, with four westbound and two eastbound trains. Westbound service originated in Oyster Bay, Riverhead, and Ronkonkoma. The eastbound terminated at Oyster Bay and Riverhead. In addition, there was one Saturday eastbound train to Richmond Hill that stopped at Penny Bridge.[131]

By World War II, the drop in ridership to Long Island City forced service reduction.  By 1942, two weekday afternoon Main Line trains from Long Island City to Jamaica stopped at both Hunterspoint Avenue and Woodside Stations. One Saturday eastbound train ran local from Long Island City to Jamaica. Of the two weekday westbound trains to Hunter’s Point, one originated in Port Jefferson. On the Montauk Division, one weekday eastbound train to Oyster Bay and two westbound trains, one from for Riverhead and the other Oyster Bay, stopped at Long Island City and Penny Bridge Stations. There was no weekend service.[132]

LIRR Ticket (Circa 1920s or early 1930s): Fare marked from Penny Bridge to Jamaica
LIRR Ticket (Circa 1920s or early 1930s): Fare marked from Penny Bridge to Jamaica

Was there a need for three Long Island City railroad stations? After all, direct service to Manhattan was available. However, it came at a price. As less trains terminated in Long Island City, increased traffic into Pennsylvania Station created congestion. In lieu, the railroad revisited the concept of Hunter’s Point as a terminal. Based on a suggestion made by the Nassau-Suffolk Commuters Committee in early 1948, the LIRR contemplated diverting some rush-hour trains to Long Island City Station where commuter bus service could provide service to Manhattan via the Queens Midtown Tunnel.[133]

In the end, the railroad made better use of Hunterspoint Avenue Station as a subway transfer location with an improved schedule. Anticipating an increase in ridership to the already crowded platform conditions at the station, a 155-foot extension was put in service on November 22, 1948.[134]

By 1951, railroad timetables reflected the infrastructure change. On the Main Line, there were eight weekday eastbound rush-hour trains from Long Island City that stopped at Hunterspoint Avenue. Two of these were bound for Port Jefferson, two for Ronkonkoma, and one each for Speonk, Farmingdale, and Oyster Bay. In addition, a local multi-unit electric train made all station stops to Queens Village. Four of the five weekday westbound trains to Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City Stations originated in Oyster Bay and one in Speonk. To attract commuters to the Hunter’s Point Avenue subway, morning service also included trains that terminated at the LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station. By this time, weekend service to Hunterspoint Avenue and Long Island City Stations was discontinued. Service on the Montauk Division to and from Long Island City and Penny Bridge Stations remained minimal. Of the three weekday morning trains to Long Island City, only the local train from Oyster Bay stopped at Penny Bridge. The two express trains from Jamaica to Long Island City originated at Port Jefferson and Oyster Bay. The two weekday eastbound rush-hour trains stopped at both stations and were bound for Oyster Bay.[135]

The arrangement proved successful to some extent as the railroad added two more daily trains to the Hunterspoint Avenue Station schedule in February of 1957, one eastbound to Port Jefferson and one westbound from Port Jefferson.[136] In fact, by September of 1958 Hunterspoint Avenue Station was the terminus of ten westbound trains and the origin of ten eastbound trains. In addition, the station became a focal point in the Port Jefferson Branch timetable. Almost half of the twenty trains on the Hunterspoint Avenue schedule terminated or originated in Port Jefferson.[137]
On the other hand, local service between Jamaica and Hunterspoint Avenue was phased out. The single remaining local train to Jamaica was number 652 to Port Jefferson.[138] It continued to stop at Woodside, Forest Hills, and Kew Gardens until major schedule revisions following the introduction of the new Metropolitan cars in the early-197os. Henceforth, all trains ran non-stop to and from Hunterspoint Avenue and Jamaica.[139]

While Hunterspoint Avenue as a transfer location was favorable, terminating trains at Long Island City Station was not and service to the old railroad terminal diminished. In fact, after the DD-1 electric locomotives were discontinued the third rail was removed within the yard limits. By 1955, electric service was no longer furnished to Long Island City on the Main Line. Gradually, service to Long Island City was restricted to Montauk Division trains. In 1956, between the Main Line and Montauk Division, there were a combined ten trains into and seven trains out of Long Island City Station. By 1958, there were only two rush-hour trains in both directions on the Montauk Division. These four Oyster Bay Branch diesel trains made a station stop at Penny Bridge as well. The limited service to Long Island City and Penny Bridge on the Montauk Division remained for decades.[140]

LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, aerial view west (February 9, 1978: William Madden Photo, David Keller Archive)
LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard, aerial view west (February 9, 1978: William Madden Photo, David Keller Archive)

With Hunterspoint Avenue Station as a western terminus for diesel-hauled rush-hour trains, the LIRR introduced the station to its parlor car fleet. The premium service was resurrected in 1957 by the railroad’s special services department to attract riders who deviated from rail transportation to the automobile.[141] For the summer of 1961, the company rolled out twenty-six new parlor cars in an anticipation of a busy summer season to the Hamptons and Montauk. The service was now coined the Route of the Weekend Chief, a reflection of its tag as the Route of the Dashing Commuter.  Its trademark logo was an Indian with a tomahawk, bow and arrow replacing Dan’s briefcase and umbrella. New cars carried Indian names as well, such as Montauk and Shinnecock. Beginning June 23, 1961, three Friday afternoon trains provided service to Montauk in the new parlor cars. Two other trains ran to Greenport and Speonk respectively. Saturday morning parlor service was also instituted as well as three Sunday night and one Monday westbound train. Service to Montauk was now directly available from Hunterspoint Avenue Station without a change at Jamaica. The eastbound train to Montauk departed at 4:14 p.m. stopped at Jamaica and then ran express to Westhampton with local stops to its terminus. Its counterpart left Montauk on Sunday evening at 6:25 p.m. and arrived at Hunterspoint Avenue at 9:16 p.m.[142]

While deluxe travel on railroads nationwide slumped, the LIRR’s parlor car ridership increased. In 1955 with a fleet of a few rented cars, the railroad carried 5,690 passengers. Four years later the total was 21,614. By 1961, it hit 33,695. The following year the LIRR furnished the first all-parlor-car train since the 1930s. Select cars also had dining service and the 4:14 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue consist to Montauk featured an open-end observation car.[143]

Seven years later under Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) ownership, the LIRR’s summer Hunterspoint Avenue schedule consisted of the Friday 3:45 p.m. Advance Cannonball (coach and parlor cars), the Thursday and Friday 4:14 p.m. Cannonball (parlor cars only), and the daily 4:43 p.m. East Ender (coach and parlor cars). The Sunday Sundowner (parlor cars only) returned to Hunterspoint Avenue at 9:42 p.m.[144] A year later, the railroad bought twenty-six replacement parlors to take the place of forty-year old equipment that needed to be “ice-cooled” in lieu of no air-conditioning. In June 1969, the MTA hosted a three-hour special ride from Hunter’s Point to Oyster Bay to showcase the new, albeit ten to twenty year-old previously owned, equipment.[145] A new fleet of refurbished cars called the “Sunrise Fleet” entered service in 1978.  Names such as the East Ender (4:10 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue) and Cannonball (4:30 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue) were still in use. Additionally, the South Shore Special to Montauk left Hunterspoint Avenue at 3:24 p.m. For westbound service from Montauk, the Sunday Beach Hampton Express arrived at Hunterspoint Avenue at 10:13 p.m. and the Monday morning Cannonball at 9:10 a.m.[146]

With expanded service at Hunterspoint Avenue, station improvements were carried out. One was adopted with the help of the City of New York and the federal government. On January 12, 1965, Mayor Wagner proposed the use of shuttle buses to relieve congestion at Grand Central’s subway facilities.[147] The new service was operated by the city for the Queens Long Island Mass Transportation Demonstration Program, a federally aided project, at the cost of $330,000. Service began February 15, 1965, connecting with twelve morning rush-hour trains and ten in the afternoon.[148] Within six months, the service proved to be a success as 400,000 riders diverted from the overcrowded subway trains at Hunter’s Point Station to the buses.[149] Increased ridership required physical improvements at the LIRR station. At a cost of $108,000, the Demonstration Program funded a new stairway and a lengthened platform on the west side of the station in May of 1965. It increased the length of the platform to ten cars. By this time, the east end of the platform had a waiting area shelter and a ticket agency. Another shelter and agency was later added.[150]

LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station, west side entrance, Hunters Point Avenue view west (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station, west side entrance, Hunters Point Avenue view west (January 28, 2006)

Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, the LIRR attempted to increase ridership and improve service to Hunterspoint Avenue. On November 1, 1967 the railroad introduced the first diesel-hauled train to skip Jamaica during the morning rush-hour. Dubbed the Silver Streak, the train was inaugurated on the Port Jefferson Branch, running non-stop from Huntington and terminating at Hunterspoint Avenue at 7:46 a.m.[151] Express service is still operated today. Currently, train number 611 runs local from Port Jefferson to Syosset and then express to Hunterspoint Avenue, arriving at 8:30 a.m.[152] Another improvement to the LIRR schedule was the design of a “skip-stop and zone.” The plan, instituted in the summer of 1974, allowed diesel trains to bypass stops in electrified territory east of Jamaica during the morning and afternoon rush-hour, making only station stops in diesel territory. The method saved time.[153] Finally, the LIRR launched the advertising phrase “Try the Hunterspoint Connection” on timetables in the early 1980s to attract new customers.[154]

By the mid-1970s, there were fifteen morning trains to Hunterspoint Avenue. For the afternoon eastbound commute, fourteen eastbound rush-hour trains departed the station. One of these was a multi-unit electric consist that ran from Hunterspoint Avenue to Jamaica utilizing the new Metropolitan cars. Following the completion of electrification to Ronkonkoma, a permanent electric train was added to the Hunterspoint Avenue eastbound schedule (number 2068 which departs at 5:29 p.m. bound for Ronkonkoma). Morning electric service to Hunterspoint Avenue is provided by train 1621 from Huntington. The return of electric service to Hunterspoint Avenue necessitated restoration of third rail power to Long Island City Station.[155]

LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station, platform, eastbound departure timetable (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station, platform, eastbound departure timetable (January 28, 2006)

Long Island City Today

Under a late twentieth century urban renewal program, New York City’s industrial waterfront communities transformed into urban residential landscapes. In Long Island City, two developments launched change. One was the erection of the Citibank Building at Court Square. At fifty stories, it is the tallest New York City structure outside of Manhattan. The other development was the construction of Queens West, a nineteen-building site that will eventually encompass seventy-four acres on the East River. The forty-two story Citylights Tower was the first residential building completed in 1997. Currently, the Rockrose Development Corporation is building the first of seven planned residential towers. As industry in the area flagged after WWII, the larger factories remained vacant warehouses. The former headquarters of Eagle Electric on Thomson Avenue will soon have residential lofts. A former power plant for the Pennsylvania Railroad on Fifth Street will house condominiums. The adjacent waterfront is the site of the two-acre Gantry Plaza State Park, featuring two gantries that once lifted freight trains onto barges. Another new park called Hunters Point South Park featured the NY Waterway ferry, which runs every fifteen minutes during rush-hour to East Thirty-Fourth Street   By 2015, it is expected that 16,000 people will be added to Long Island City’s population.[156]

Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City (June 12, 2013)
Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City (June 12, 2013)

To the east, Sunnyside remains an ethnically diverse community. The mainly Irish population gave way to a mix of immigrants. As more Asians and Latinos moved into the area between 1990 and 2000, the portion of whites decreased from seventy-one percent to fifty-seven percent. The most desired homes are the Garden houses where each street bears both its original name and the number it was assigned after Queens became part of New York City.[157] While Sunnyside Yard remains an active facility for Amtrak, the Montauk Cut-Off was abandoned in 1989 and is vastly overgrown. Recently, the Smiling Hogshead Ranch planted vegetable beds and fruit trees in the growing brush between the decrepit tracks. The ranch is a group of gardeners that want to take responsibility for the land and officially lease it. They started growing plants in 2011 without MTA permission. After a year, the MTA took notice the following year and a year-to-year agreement with the group is currently pending.[158]

To the south, Newtown Creek is still one of the foulest waterways in the country. Most of the shipping traffic was driven off by pollution or factories seeking deeper ports. As dumping into the creek stopped, flora and fauna has begun to grow.[159] The federal government wants to designate the creek a toxic Superfund site, which would mandate a rigorous cleanup. It is estimated that seventeen to thirty million gallons of waste poured into Newtown Creek.[160]

Lastly, some landmarks are gone and some structures renamed.  Once visible from the Queens side of Newtown Creek were the Brooklyn Union Gas tanks on Maspeth Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Built by the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in 1927 and 1948, these 400-foot tall natural-gas holders were the largest in the world. KeySpan Energy decided to demolish the towers since they were obsolete and empty for years. Known formally as the Maspeth Holders, they came down on July 15, 2001.[161] One of the two name changes was the Triborough Bridge. It was renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, former Attorney General who was elected a United States Senate for New York in 1964. He was shot to death in Los Angeles after he won the California Democratic Primary in 1968. In 2008, Governor David A. Patterson signed a bill to make the change official.[162] The other change was the name of the Queensborough Bridge. In December of 2010, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that it would be named after former mayor Edward I. Koch.[163]

Hell Gate and Triborough Bridge (Robert F. Kennedy Bridge), Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)
Hell Gate and Triborough Bridge (Robert F. Kennedy Bridge), Astoria Park (June 12, 2013)

Conclusion

At the end of the twentieth century, the LIRR replaced its aged diesel locomotives and coaches with new dual-mode equipment capable of running to Pennsylvania Station via the East River tunnels. Now, passengers could travel directly from diesel territory to Manhattan. The improvement altered service to all three railroad stations within Long Island City. Penny Bridge Station was discontinued in 1998, along with Haberman, Fresh Pond, Glendale, and Richmond Hill. By 2012, LIRR passenger service to Long Island City along the Montauk Division right-of-way in Queens was abandoned. Hunterspoint Avenue Station and Long Island City Stations on the Main Line right-of-way remain in service as the terminus or origin for most rush-hour diesel service.

Time Table for Service between All Stations Long Island City to Jamaica via Montauk Branch, 1973: Station locations
LIRR Richmond Hill Commemorative Timetable for Service between All Stations Long Island City to Jamaica via Montauk Branch, 1973: Station locations

From the 1960s to the early 1970s, two Oyster Bay Branch eastbound and two westbound rush-hour trains stopped at Penny Bridge. By 1976, westbound service was cut to one station stop as the other scheduled train ran express to Long Island City.[164] The new schedule remained steady until 1991. On February 14, service to Long Island City was suspended to repair the Dutch Kills Swing Bridge. Built in 1892, the bridge gears that allowed the railroad to open and close the steel bridge failed to work properly, necessitating a $13.8-million overhaul. The railroad calculated 200 passengers were affected, primarily Long Island City customers, and suggested they use Hunterspoint Avenue Station. In the interim, Penny Bridge was the western terminus of the Montauk Division. One of the affected westbound rush-hour trains from Oyster Bay to Long Island City terminated at Jamaica. The other, by this time originating in Patchogue, terminated at Penny Bridge. Likewise, one of the eastbound rush-hour trains from Long Island City to Oyster Bay originated at Jamaica and the other from Penny Bridge.[165]

Time Table for Service between All Stations Long Island City to Jamaica via Montauk Branch, 1973: Daily train schedule at Long Island City and Penny Bridge stations
LIRR Richmond Hill Commemorative Timetable for Service between All Stations Long Island City to Jamaica via Montauk Branch, 1973: Daily train schedule at Long Island City and Penny Bridge stations

Main Line track rehabilitation in the summer of 1997 forced the closure of Hunterspoint Avenue Station and re-rerouted all scheduled trains to the Montauk Division. For the duration, Long Island City Station served as the terminus, with eight westbound arrivals and eleven eastbound departures. Two of these were Montauk-bound with parlor car service. One was the Thursday and Friday Cannonball which ran express from Jamaica to Westhampton and Montauk. The other was the early Friday afternoon getaway. Service to Penny Bridge Station remained unchanged, with two scheduled eastbound afternoon trains and one westbound morning train.[166]

LIRR Main Line Track Rehabilitation May 19th-September 21st: All trains departing Long Island City were diverted to the Montauk Branch
LIRR Main Line Track Rehabilitation May 19th-September 21st: All trains departing Long Island City were diverted to the Montauk Branch
LIRR Main Line Track Rehabilitation May 19th-September 21st: Hunterspoint Avenue Station was temporarily closed
LIRR Main Line Track Rehabilitation May 19th-September 21st: Hunterspoint Avenue Station was temporarily closed
LIRR City Terminal Zone Timetable Effective May 19, 1997: Westbound service to Long Island City and Penny Bridge
LIRR City Terminal Zone Timetable Effective May 19, 1997: Westbound service to Long Island City and Penny Bridge
LIRR City Terminal Zone Timetable Effective May 19, 1997: Eastbound service from Long Island City and Penny Bridge
LIRR City Terminal Zone Timetable Effective May 19, 1997: Eastbound service from Long Island City and Penny Bridge

A year later, service to Penny Bridge Station was discontinued. Citing it was lightly used, the railroad argued that the station didn’t warrant the estimated $260,000 to $2.25-million construction cost of the new wheelchair-accessible high-level platform for the new double-decker coaches. The old diesel-hauled coaches had stairs that reached low-level platforms.   The passenger shelter at the station was long gone and the average daily ridership at Penny Bridge was one person.[167] On Friday, March 13, 1998, the last westbound train (number 2761 from Patchogue) stopped at Penny Bridge at 8:36 a.m. Both of the final eastbound station stops were Oyster Bay-bound trains, number 560 at 4:59 p.m. and number 562 at 5:36 p.m.[168]

LIRR March 16 Station Closings Notice: The announcement provided customers with an alternate transportation guide
LIRR March 16 Station Closings Notice:
The announcement provided customers with an alternate transportation guide
LIRR Penny Bridge Station, Kosciusko Bridge and Brooklyn Union Gas towers in background, coach vestibule view south: Last westbound morning rush-hour station stop, (March 13, 1998)
LIRR Penny Bridge Station, Kosciusko Bridge and Brooklyn Union Gas towers in background, coach vestibule view south: Last westbound morning rush-hour station stop (March 13, 1998)
LIRR Long Island City Station and train number 2761 from Patchogue, view west: Last local westbound train on the Montauk Branch in Queens (March 13, 1998)
LIRR Long Island City Station platform and train number 2761 from Patchogue, view west: Last local westbound train on the Montauk Branch in Queens (March 13, 1998)
LIRR MP15-AC number 172 of train number 562 to Oyster Bay, Long Island City Station, view west: Last local eastbound train on the Montauk Branch in Queens (March 13, 1998)
LIRR Long Island City Station platform and MP15-AC number 172 of train number 562 to Oyster Bay, view west: Last local eastbound train on the Montauk Branch in Queens (March 13, 1998)

On the other hand, service to Long Island City Station improved in the 1990s.  Beginning in the fall 1994, three Hunterspoint Avenue-bound morning rush-hour trains were extended on the Main Line to Long Island City. Additionally, three of the eastbound rush-hour trains scheduled to depart Hunterspoint Avenue originated at Long Island City.  Main Line track rehabilitation in the summer of 1998 once again mandated the closure Hunterspoint Avenue Station and re-rerouted all scheduled trains to the Montauk Division. Beginning May 18, there were nine westbound and eight eastbound trains to and from Long Island City. Additionally, the Thursday and Friday parlor car Cannonball departed Long Island City as well as one other Friday-only train to Montauk.[169] 

Long Island City Station was also renovated for the arrival of the new diesel fleet. Currently, the passenger yard has a total of twelve tracks. Initially, a two-car platform was set up between tracks eight and nine to meet the new diesel coach requirement. Later, two island-type, high-level concrete platforms were erected between tracks two and three (platform A) and six and seven (platform B). There is also a wooden platform (C) adjacent to track nine.[170]

LIRR Long Island City Station, high-level platform A between tracks 2 and 3, view west (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Long Island City Station, high-level platform A between tracks 2 and 3, view west (January 28, 2006)
LIRR Long Island City, high-level platform B between tracks 7 and 8, view west (May 1, 2015)
LIRR Long Island City Station, high-level platform B between tracks 6 and 7, view west (May 1, 2015)
LIRR Long Island City, high-level platform C, view east (May 1, 2015)
LIRR Long Island City Station, high-level platform C, view east (May 1, 2015)

Apart from the Main Line track rehabilitation, Long Island City service remained relatively unchanged until November 15, 1999. Four of the ten scheduled trains to and from Long Island City ran express on the Montauk Division tracks: two Oyster Bay-bound trains (numbers 560 and 562), and two morning westbound trains (number 507 from Oyster Bay and number 2761 from Patchogue).  As train timetables were modified for the new dual-mode fleet, numbers 2761 and 562 were rerouted leaving only two daily trains which utilized the Montauk right-of-way, 507 and 560.[171] Number 560 was eventually rerouted to the Main Line as well leaving only number 507. Sadly, this too was rerouted to the Main Line as of the November 12, 2012 timetable. In light of Hurricane Sandy, the last LIRR scheduled passenger train to utilize the Montauk tracks was Oyster Bay train number 507 to Long Island City on October 26, 2012. By 2015 federal law mandated that all passenger railroads install a “Positive Train Control” system. The one passenger train remaining in service didn’t warrant the expensive safety standard. Currently, only freight trains run on the tracks.[172] Incidentally, beginning February 22, 2014, train number 507 to Long Island City makes a station stop at Hunterspoint Avenue Station and the LIRR no longer provides express service to or from Long Island City Station and Jamaica.[173]

LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard and Manhattan Skyline, track view west (August 7, 2013)
LIRR Long Island City Passenger Yard and Manhattan Skyline, track view west (August 7, 2013)

By the 1990s, service to Hunterspoint Avenue diminished slightly. In 1983, there were fifteen daily trains in both directions.[174] By 1994, the number dropped to approximately ten, with the Friday Cannonball now serving commuters year-round. Seasonal parlor car service to Montauk still departed Hunterspoint Avenue: both the Thursday and Friday Cannonball, and the early Friday afternoon getaway train and the Monday morning westbound train.[175] Sadly, the new diesel fleet would not feature parlor cars. The final summer for the “Sunrise Fleet” was 1999. [176]

LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station platform and Cab Control Car 5014 of westbound train number 613, view east (July 26, 2013)
LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station platform and Cab Control Car 5014 of westbound train number 613, view east (July 26, 2013)

The following summer the Hamptons Reserve Service replaced the former business.  No longer in a specially designed car, the new feature offers commuters a reserved seat on the Cannonball where cocktails and snacks are served.[177]  Friday, May 17, 2013 was the last day that the Cannonball departed from Hunterspoint Avenue. As of Friday, May 24, 2013, the Cannonball now departs from Pennsylvania Station at 4:07 p.m.[178]

LIRR Main Line, east of Hunterpoint Avenue Station, East River portals line 1 and 3 on left, Montauk Cut-Off crosses over tracks from right to left, track view west, Long Island City (July 26, 2014)
LIRR Main Line, east of Hunterpoint Avenue Station, East River portals line 1 and 3 on left, Montauk Cut-Off crosses over tracks from right to left, track view west, Long Island City (July 26, 2014)

Today, off-season service at Hunterspoint Avenue is eleven trains eastbound and twelve trains westbound.[178]  In lieu of the current East Side Access project, the fate of Hunterspoint Avenue Station is in question. If LIRR trains will be able to travel to Grand Central Station, will there be a need for the station as a subway transfer? Currently, construction is scheduled to be completed as early as 2019. The LIRR refers to the $8.3-billion enhancement as its “moon shot,” saving 160,000 riders up to forty-five minutes travel-time.[180]

LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station platform and Cab Control Car 5014 of westbound train number 613, view east (July 26, 2013)
LIRR Hunterspoint Avenue Station platform and Cab Control Car 5014 of westbound train number 613, view east (July 26, 2013)

 

 Hunterspoint Avenue Centennial Page

 

Next page: Queens

 
________________________________________________________________

[1] Henry Isham Hazelton, The Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, Long Island, New York, 1609-1924 (New York: Lewis Historical, 1925), 939-940.

[2] Vincent F. Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City (United States: Edgian Press, 1984), 7-8.

[3] Ibid; Ibid., 62.

[4] Ibid., 10.

[5] Ibid., 49.

[6] Ibid., 75-76.

[7] Ibid; “Newtown Creek,” Brooklyn/Queens Waterfront, accessed on April 8, 2014, http://sites.google.com/site/brooklynqueenswaterfront/neighborhood-histories/newtown-creek.

[8] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 12.

[9] Ibid., 77-80.

[10] Ibid., 11-13.

[11] Ibid., 15.

[12] Ibid., 16-17.

[13] Ibid., 19.

[14] Ibid., 19-20.

[15] Ibid., 22-25.

[16] Ibid., 83-85.

[17] “Welcome,” Calvary Cemetery, accessed April 10, 2014, http://www.calvarycemeteryqueens.com/ Calvary Cemetery.

[18] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 50-51.

[19] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 386.

[20] Ibid.,387.

[21] Ibid., 389.

[22] Ibid., 391.

[23] Ibid., 394.

[24] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 84.

[25] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 2, Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 145; Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 84.

[26] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 2,145.

[27] “Article 15 — No Title,” New York Times (1851-1857), May 30, 1855, http://www.proquest.com.

[28] “Railroads,” New York Times (1851-1857), January 19, 1859, http://www.proquest.com.

[29] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 85.

[30] “Railroads,” New York Times (1851-1857), June 11, 1859, http://www.proquest.com.

[31] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 2, 145.

[32] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 394.

[33] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 86.

[34] “Change in Terminus of the Long Island Railroad,” New York Times (1851-1857), May 11, 1861, http://www.proquest.com.

[35] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, The Age of Expansion 1863-1880 (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 185.

[36] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 6, The Golden Age 1881-1900 (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 256.

[37] “Winter Arrangement Commencing November 14, 1864,” Long Islander (Huntington), December 02, 1864, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[38] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 2, 145.

[39] “Railroads Centering in New-York,” New York Times (1857-1922), January 21, 1866, http://www.proquest.com.

[40] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 87.

[41] Ibid., 94-95.

[42] Ibid., 99.

[43] Ibid., 92.

[44] Ibid., 90.

[45] Ibid., 31-32.

[46] Ibid., 35.

[47] Ibid., 65-68.

[48] Ibid., 100-101.

[49] Ibid., 103-109.

[50] Ibid., 114.

[51] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 940-941.

[52] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City,115.

[53] Ibid., 69-73.

[54] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 394.

[55] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 2, 145.

[56] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 2, 145; “Hunter’s Point Bridge,” Brooklyn Eagle, December 24, 1868, http://bklyn.newspapers.com/image/50428156/?terms=flushing%2Bnorth%2Bside%2Brailroad%2B%22long%2Bisland%2Bcity%22.

[57] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 394.

[58] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 3, 198.

[59] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 399.

[60] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 6, 265; “Long Island Items, Brooklyn Eagle Online, August 8, 1870, http://bklyn.newspapers.com/image/50436387/?terms=%22penny%2Bbridge%22%2Bany%2Bmore%2Btrain.

[61] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 2, 145.

[62] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 399.

[63] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 3, 185.

[64] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 6, 256.

[65] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 402.

[66] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 4, The Bay Ridge and Manhattan Beach Divisions; LIRR Operation on the Brighton and Culver Lines (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 202.

[67] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 407.

[68] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 4, 202; “Long Island Items,” Brooklyn Eagle Online, July 24, 1880, http://bklyn.newspapers.com/image/50504284/?terms=%22penny%2Bbridge%22.

[69] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 118-121.

[70] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 952.

[71]Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 121-124.

[72] Ibid., 126.

[73] Ibid., 130.

[74] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 949.

[75] Ibid., 947.

[76] Ibid., 951.

[77] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 132.

[78] Edward Hagaman Hall, A Volume Commemorating the Creation of the Second City of the World: by the Consolidation of the Communities Adjacent to New York Harbor under the New Charter of the City of New York (New York: Republic Press, 1898), 158.

[79] Ibid., 15.

[80] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 135-137.

[81] Ibid., 137.

[82] City of New York Parks & Recreation, General Slocum Disaster, Astoria Park, Historical Marker (Astoria, NY).

[83] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 139.

[84] Ibid., 54-55.

[85] Ibid., 138.

[86] Ibid., 140.

[87] Ibid., 142.

[88] Ibid., 146.

[89] “Newtown Creek”.

[90] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 153-155.

[91] “Development of the Island’s Transportation,” New York Times (1857-1922), September 4, 1910, http://www.proquest.com.

[92] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 413.

[93] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 7, The Age of Electrification (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 103.

[94] “L.I.R.R. Officials Move,” Long Islander (Huntington), August 05, 1910, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[95] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 413.

[96] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 7, 82.

[97] Ibid., 114.

[98] Ibid., 120.

[99] Ibid., 110.

[100] Hazelton, Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, Counties of Nassau and Suffolk, 413.

[101] Ibid., 409-410.

[102] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 136.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Long Island Railroad Company, Long Island Railroad Company Time Table No. 26, For the Government and Information of Employees Only, in effect 12.01 A.M., Wednesday, May 27th, 1903 (New York: Long Island Railroad Company, 1903), Manhattan Beach Division.

[105] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 6, 256-257.

[106] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 7, 339.

[107] Ibid., 45-47.

[108] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 6, 265.

[109] “A Bridge Turned Off,” Brooklyn Eagle Online, April 27, 1890, http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.

[110] “Fall of a Foot Bridge,” Brooklyn Eagle Online, January 13, 1894, http://eagle.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.

[111] “Connect Long Island with Times Square: Plans of Long Island Railroad,” New York Times (1857-1922), July 20, 1910, http://www.proquest.com.

[112] “New Railway Station,” New York Times (1857-Current file), May 3, 1914, http://www.proquest.com; “Long Island Rail Road: Alphabetical Station Listing and History,” Trains Are Fun, accessed February 22, 2016, <a title="http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/lirrstationshistory.htm<&quot; href="http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/lirrstationshistory.htmhttp://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/lirrstationshistory.htm.

[113] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 138-139.

[114] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 7, 340.

[115] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 138-139.

[116] “Suburban Traffic Grows,” New York Times (1857-1922), Nov 4, 1917, http://www.proquest.com.

[117] Seyfried, 300 Years of Long Island City, 138-139.

[118] “Ask L.I.R.R. Changes: Queens Chamber of Commerce Wants New Fourth Ave. Station,” New York Times (1857-1922), December 4, 1921, http://www.proquest.com.

[119] “L.I. Road Queried on Service Plans: Asked to Reply on 31 Points,” New York Times (1923-Current file), December 24, 1929, http://www.proquest.com.

[120] Seyfried, Long Island Rail Road, vol. 6, 258; Ron Ziel and John Krause, Electric Heritage of the Long Island Rail Road 1905 – 1975 (Newton, NJ: Carstens Publications, Inc.), 10.

[121] Long Island Railroad, Effective October 17th, 1916, Corrected to Dec. 6th, 1916, Long Island Railroad Schedule of Trains (New York: Long Island Railroad, 1916).

[122] Long Island Railroad, Taking effect May 23, 1928, Daylight Saving Time, Long Island Railroad Time Tables (New York: Long Island Railroad, 1928.)

[123] Robert A. Caro, Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (New York: Vintage, 1975), 386-387.

[124] Ibid., 441.

[125] “Shipping Needs for Queens Shore: Committee to Confer with Dock Department on Bulkhead Improvement,” New York Times (1857-1922), May 31, 1914, http://www.proquest.com.

[126] “New Highways for Queens Borough: Tri-Borough Bridge and Tunnel Will Make More Traffic Arteries Necessary,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 19, 1928, http://www.proquest.com.

[127] “Mayor Opens Span with Peace Plea: Denounces Foes of Amity,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 24, 1939, http://www.proquest.com.

[128] “Kosciusko Bridge is Named by Mayor: He and Bennett Tell Polish-Americans at Newtown Creek that Homeland will Live,” New York Times (1923-Current file), September 23, 1940, http://www.proquest.com.

[129] John Markland, “Queens Midtown Tube to Open: Vehicular Tunnel, Ready for Public,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 10, 1940, http://www.proquest.com.

[130] “Midtown Tunnel Will Enhance New Home Building in Queens,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 17, 1940, http://www.proquest.com.

[131] Long Island Railroad, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Zone, Long Island Railroad, Time Table No. 8, In effect 2.00 a.m. Sunday, September 19, 1937, for the Government of Employes Only, Eastern Standard Time (New York: Long Island Railroad, 1937).

[132] Long Island Rail Road, Long Island Rail Road Time Tables, Schedule in effect 2:00 AM September 20, 1942 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1942).

[133] “Plan to Divert Some LIRR Trains Studied,” Patchogue Advance, April 1, 1948, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[134] “Extended Rail Platform in Use,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 23, 1948, http://www.proquest.com.

[135] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect September 9, 1951, Long Island Rail Road, William H. Draper, Jr., Trustee, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1951).

[136] “Hunterspoint Stop Scheduled by L.I.R.R. for Two Local Trains,” Long Islander (Huntington), February 21, 1957, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[137] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect September 2, 1958, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1958).

[138] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in effect October 3, 1955, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1955).

[139] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective October 5, 1971, Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay, Hempstead, and Ronkokoma and Intermediate Stations, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1971); Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 20, 1974, Port Jefferson Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1974).

[140] Ibid; Ron Ziel and John Krause, Electric Heritage of the Long Island Rail Road 1905 – 1975, 10.

[141] “Long Island Rail Road Rebuilt Lightweight Parlor Cars ‘The Sunrise Fleet,’” accessed on January 26, 2014, http://www.dominionrailvoyages.com/jhd/lirr/page5.html.

[142] “Speaking of Business,” Patchogue Advance, May 11, 1961, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[143] “Improved Service on Long Island Rail Road,” The Watchman, May 31, 1962, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[144] Metropolitan Long Island Rail Road Company, The Long Island Rail Road Company, Timetable No. 4, effective 12.01 A.M. Monday, November 25, 1968 (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1968).

[145] Edward Hudson, “L.I.R.R. Shows Off Its ‘New’ Special Parlor Cars,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 26, 1969, http://www.proquest.com.

[146] “Long Island Rail Road Rebuilt Lightweight Parlor Cars ‘The Sunrise Fleet.’”

[147] “Shuttle-Bus Runs to Hunters Point Sought by Mayor,” New York Times (1923-Current file), January 13, 1965, http://www.proquest.com.

[148] “L.I.R.R. Shuttle Bus Service to Begin Runs Tomorrow,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 14, 1965, http://www.proquest.com.

[149] “Queens Buses Ease Subway Bottleneck,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 15, 1965, http://www.proquest.com.

[150] “LIRR Station Came as a Result of Cooperation,” Long Islander (Huntington), May 20, 1965, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Timetable No.1, effective: 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 18, 2001 for the Government of Employees Only (MTA Long Island Rail Road: New York, 2001).

[151] “New LIRR Train Skips Jamaica Stop,” Long Islander (Huntington), November 02, 1967, http://apa3.olivesoftware.com.

[152] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective February 24 – May 18, 2014 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2014).

[153] Edward Burks, “Riders Applaud L.I.R.R. Improvements,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 3, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[154] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective October 17, 1983 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1983).

[155] MTA Long Island Rail Road, City Terminal Zone Timetable effective September 13, 1976 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1976); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Ronkonkoma Branch Timetable effective February 24 – May 18, 2014 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2014); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective February 24 – May 18, 2014 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2014); Ron Ziel and John Krause, Electric Heritage of the Long Island Rail Road 1905 – 1975, 10.

[156] Joyce Cohen, “If You’re Thinking of Living In/Long Island City, Queens,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 27, 2000, http://www.proquest.com; Jeff Vandam, “If You’re Thinking of Living In/Long Island City, Queens,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 20, 2005, http://www.proquest.com.

[157] Jeff Vandam, “Living In: Sunnyside, Queens,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 4, 2007, http://www.proquest.com.

[158] “Room to Grow: Smiling Hogshead Ranch Thrives amid Wilderness,” Daily News, November 13, 2013.

[159] Andy Newman, “Life Returns to Fouled, Unclassy Newtown Creek,” New York Times (1923-Current file), November 12, 1999, http://www.proquest.com.

[160] Mireya Navarro, “Where Brooklyn and Queens Meet, A Quiet Parallel To the Gulf Spill,” New York Times (1923-Current file), August 4, 2010, http://www.proquest.com.

[161] Andy Newman, “Last Days for Brooklyn’s Giants: Twin Tanks Carry a Love-Hate Reputation to the End,” New York Times (1923-Current file), July 9, 2001, http://www.proquest.com.

[162] James Barron, “R.F.K. Bridge May Meet Fate of Ave. of the Americas,” New York Times (1923-Current file), June 6, 2008, http://www.proquest.com.

[163] Michael M. Grynbaum and Thomas Kaplan, “In City, a Bridge for Koch and a Tunnel for Carey,” New York Times (1923-Current file), December 8, 2010, http://www.proquest.com.

[164] MTA Long Island Rail Road, City Terminal Zone Timetable effective September 13, 1976.

[165] Maureen Fan, “Bridge Woes Force LIRR to Halt LI City Service,” Newsday, February 13, 1991.

[166] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Main Line Track Rehabilitation May 19th – September 21st (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1997).

[167] Somini Sengupta, “End of the Line for L.I.R.R.’s 10 Loneliest Stops,” New York Times (1923-Current file), March 15, 1998, http://www.proquest.com.

[168] MTA Long Island Rail Road, City Terminal Zone Branch Timetable effective November 17, 1997 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1997).

[169] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective September 19, 1994, Syosset, Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1994); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 18, 1998 – September 13, 1998 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1998).

[170] Mitchell Freedman, “New Look, Same Spirit at Speonk,” Newsday (East End edition), February 9, 1997, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Timetable No.1, effective: 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 18, 2001 for the Government of Employees Only.

[171] MTA Long Island Rail Road, City Terminal Zone Branch Timetable effective November 15, 1999 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1999).

[172] “The LIRR Says Goodbye to the Lower Montauk,” The Long Island Rail Road Today, accessed May 1, 2014, http://www.thelirrtoday.com/2013/03/the-lirr-says-goodbye-to-lower-montauk.html.

[173] MTA Long Island Rail Road, City Terminal Zone Branch Timetable effective February 24 – May 18, 2014 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2014).

[174] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective October 17, 1983.

[175] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 27, 1993 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1993); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Port Jefferson Branch Timetable effective June 13, 1994 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1994).

[176] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 24, 1999 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1999).

[177] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 22, 2000(New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2000).

[178] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 20, 2013 – September 2, 2013 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2013).

[179] MTA Long Island Rail Road, City Terminal Zone Timetable effective February 24 – May 18, 2014.

[180] Alfonso A. Castillo, “East Side Access for LIRR, Delayed Again,” Newsday, January 11, 2014.

 

Next page: Queens

 

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