A line once went through it

2009 February 23
by ASHP Staff

A View from the Myrtle "El". Source: http://pcullinan.smugmug.com/Brooklyn/247985

With funerals abound for some our beloved subway lines- and as a regular user of the maligned W and the G in Queens, I am profoundly mulling what these service changes will mean for me personally; however, not one to lose perspective, it’s good to think about other lines that once crossed this fine city. Yes I’m talking about the Myrtle Avenue line, which used to run from Metropolitan Ave. all the way to Jay St. in downtown Brooklyn. 



Raiders Dryers. Source: Forgotten NY

The 1960’s were a time of tumult in Bedford-Stuyvesant. One of the early riots ocurred in this neighborhood- and tensions were high with civil rights on the minds of many residents. And yet, at the end of the decade, the neighborhood had lost its El. Perhaps the businesses and residents of Mytrle Ave. could finally sleep at night, but one has to wonder how the character of the street- and maybe the neighborhood might be different had the El survived to a time when we understand how transit stops raise nearby property values. Might the neighborhood have gentrified sooner with direct train access? Might Myrtle Avenue be a vibrant commercial strip from end to end? Would the community have developed the same strong sense of community?

These current cuts won’t absolutely eliminate service for any area- but it remains to be seen: Will rent prices dip at the far end of the J/Z lines without the Z and express service? Will the rents in Astoria drop due to over crowded R’s and N’s? Or will residents of the cities two biggest boroughs have to give each other up forever?

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