Shelomo Alfassa: July 2008 Archives

By Shelomo Alfassa

The Newkirk Avenue, New York City Subway station, was created by the 'Brooklyn Grade Crossing Elimination Commission' when they sought to run the trains below ground in order to speed up efficiency and primarily to reduce potential accidents from when the train ran above ground. Work started on August 1, 1904 and was completed July 1, 1908.

Newkirk was opened around 1900 as a two-track surface station named South Midwood, a reference to its location at the southern end of the former Town of Flatbush, which was also historically known as Midwood. Yet, what is 100 years old today is the station as you see it today.

The line where the Q and B train runs today was once called the Brooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island RR, a steam train line, known as "the Brighton line." The Brooklyn Grade Crossing Elimination Commission was created by the New York State legislature on May 9, 1903 to accomplish the goal of providing fully grade separated rights-of-way for the BRT's Brighton Beach Line and the Bay Ridge and Manhattan Beach lines of the LIRR.

One year before the grade crossing at Newkirk was complete, while there was still only a single track on the "Brighton Beach Division" line (Modern Q/B train), two trains crashed head-on at Newkirk Avenue station. Three cars were derailed, two almost overturned, and the third WAS crushed beneath a heavy wooden bridge which the force of the collision shook down from its position across the cut.

According to train historian Bob Diamond, the line was electrified in 1899, when it was connected into the Fulton Street EL, permitting service between lower Manhattan and Brighton Beach. The work mostly included elevating and depressing the line for the elimination of grade crossings, the construction of steel bridges and the construction of sewers to aid real estate development along the route. When on the surface, the station was a division point at which short-lined elevated trains of the Fulton Street Elevated lines terminated.

A project completed November 2, 1964 lengthened the platforms in the northward direction. The open cut was widened for about 40m and the tracks rearranged to fit the platform extensions. Newkirk is the "next stop" from Kings Highway which is in the heart of the most vibrant Sephardic community in North America.

Now you know more than you wanted to about the Newkirk Station!



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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Shelomo Alfassa in July 2008.

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