Evidence of history – dead ends and tracks
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
Walking along Ave H or I, especially at night, can be rather creepy. Nearly every block, save major avenues, ends in a dead end, with a jarring bright red light at the end. This can also be especially frustrating, as you can’t walk simply walk an avenue up on any block – you either have to go back to the last avenue that goes through, or hope the next one comes up.
There are, of course, no signs telling pedestrians why the streets end. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong to conclude there was something otherworldly hidden – check out this glimpse of the mystery, as seen on Coney Island Ave between Aves H and I. This does not look like Brooklyn as most people imagine it.
Rob Kopolovicz provides some answers here:
The section of track nearest the New York & Sea Beach Railroad (part of today’s N train) and parallel to the Ave H section of Brooklyn was known as the New York & Hempstead Railroad (Bay Ridge Branch) and built in 1871. It began at 65st in Bay Ridge running through Midwood and into Queens until it reached Valley Stream. It ran at grade level in its early beginnings and was built primarily because the people of Hempstead were dissatisfied with the service the LIRR was providing over its branch to the main line at Mineola. Eventually, the New York & Hempstead Plains Railroad became part of the LIRR anyway.
You can catch a glimpse of this from the Ave H platform on the Q train, as well, and Ocean Parkway between Aves H and I. One thing I love about Midwood is it hasn’t paved over or destroyed every piece of evidence of history.