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An Interborough Express Update

During a May 19th virtual town hall, the MTA updated the status of  the Interborough Express, a proposed 14 mile transit line from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights. It would leverage an existing freight roadbed to connect 17 subway lines and the LIRR as it traverses transit deserts in southeastern Brooklyn. MTA Map, May 2022 The big news is that the Port Authority still wants to build a modern freight line on the same Cut, dubbed the Cross Harbor Freight Project, that would feed into a proposed tunnel from Bay Ridge to the continental rail network terminus near Jersey City.  The PA’s project has been dormant for the past two years but will shortly resume its Tier II Environmental Impact Study (EIS), during which it will look at how their freight could work in concert with the Interboro Express.  May 2022, MTA Meanwhile the MTA will commence its own two-year EIS Study in early 2023, then possibly seek funding and commence design and construction. But given that the Penn Access Project in th

Foster Avenue: An Origin Story

1850s Ticket to Ride, Courtesy of Phil Goldstein's Fabulous  Train  Web Site Was Foster Avenue, which extends from Flatbush to Canarsie, named for James Foster? He was “among the early settlers in Jamaica, Queens County,” per an unsourced entry in Brooklyn by Name by Leonard Benardo & Jennifer Weiss (NYU Press, 2006) .  2006: Brooklyn By Name Excerpt Kevin Walsh’s fabulous Forgotten New York website found it difficult to accept this solution and I agree. Based on my research the street was named for Charles Foster, a founder of Parkville ( née Greenfield) , which is where Foster Avenue originates and where it first appeared on a map. Here are the thrill-packed details.  In 1850 the Coney Island Plank Road Company laid wooden boards – “planks” – along a pre-existing dirt path extending from today’s Prospect Park Southwest all the way to the shore. The wood was replaced by rails in 1862 to allow for horse-drawn “omnibus” (hourly) cars, followed by electric trolleys in the 1890s

Triboro or Interborough: A Light Rail Connection Between Brooklyn & Queens by Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

For all those interested in the proposed MTA "Interborough" light rail bonanza for transit-starved neighborhoods, please check out this wonderful video teaser by Nate Dorr who spent a year chronicling the Bay Ridge line with his camera: "From September 2019 to November 2020 I hiked the length of the line, taking still photographs at regular intervals as regulated by the spacing of the ties, one photo every two to eight ties depending on the section under consideration. By carefully aligning and interleaving these images, created gliding timelapse tracking shots that travel as a train might..." For the early history of the Triboro/Interborough line, see my recent historical deep-dive --> here.

Westwood Rides into Town

On a cold night in early January BC - Before Corona - I passed a new bistro on Foster Avenue between East 18th & 19th Streets. “WESTWOOD” the backlit-acrylic letters blazed.   Interesting name. Was this an homage to West Midwood, Midwood Park and South Midwood, the Victorian Flatbush neighborhoods, dark and somnambulant, looming across Foster Avenue in every direction? But the wooden décor looked southwestern. Was Westwood an evocation of Clint Eastwood westerns? Either explanation would be fine with me. I decided to drop in for a drink and find out. Sitting at the bar, I ordered a Dewar’s. “No Dewar’s,” said the bartender, Leo. I took a McAllen’s instead. The minutes passed. Leo’s wife, Lorena, who tended the six tables beyond the bar, said “the hanger steak is mighty fine tonight, Señor.” Some far flung tennis match displayed on the monitors while I pondered whether to eat. Suddenly a guy in the shadows at the far end of the bar ordered Leo to top off my drink. “That’s by way of

The Stories Your House Could Tell: 725 Argyle Road

1940 Six families have occupied 725 Argyle Road since it was built by John R. Corbin in 1905 and they provide an interesting mix of professions: publishing, policing, music, facilities management, sales, nursing, architecture and teaching. 1910 Census: Mr. & Mrs. Peck 1910 Census: The Rest of the Pecks The first residents were Joseph and Ruth Peck and their two young daughters. The Pecks were born in Cincinnati, married there in 1903, and shortly thereafter moved to Brooklyn, buying a home in the new suburban development of West South Midwood. Ruth’s parents, Harry and Cecilia Crossley, then in their 70s, joined them in the spacious dwelling. Sorry baseball fans, the Crossleys were not related to Powel Crosley (with one “s”), a radio manufacturer who bought the Cincinnati Reds in 1934 and re-named their ballpark after himself, naturally.  1916 Peck's Patented Coloring Book   No, the Pecks were purveyors of an older media: books. In the offices of Platt & Peck at 42 Broadway

Ask Mr. Trivia Guy

[ As always, Mr. Trivia Guy insists he should only be asked questions he already knows the answers to . ] LANCE TUKELL : I heard through the grapevine there will be a new City ordinance regarding structures 40 feet and higher. So, do you know how tall my house is at 667 Argyle? TRIVIA GUY : The height of your roof above ground elevation is 38.25 feet. You can replicate the search at . Local Law 26 of 2004 required all NEW residential buildings at least 40-feet tall (and existing residences taller than 100 feet) to have commercial fire sprinkler systems installed within 15 years.  LANCE TUKELL : You had me at 38.25 feet, Mr. Trivia Guy... SAMANTHA & WARREN BLOOM : Over here, Mr. Guy! During the September Block Party these two Men in Black approached as we sat on our porch on Glenwood and they told us two things. First, they said Charles Ebbets, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers who built Ebbets Field in 1917, lived in our house. Could that possibly be true? Ch