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R188 7857

Remembering the Myrtle Avenue El

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1969 was a big year. Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon and the MTA ran its last antique wooden train on the now-defunct Myrtle Avenue El Line.

 

Did you know that the Myrtle Avenue El ran from Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village west into Downtown Brooklyn and until 1944, over the Brooklyn Bridge to a terminal at Park Row in Manhattan?

The Myrtle Avenue El connected the neighborhoods of Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Glendale and Middle Village. When it opened in April 1888, it ran from the Adams Street station in Downtown Brooklyn to Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill. Later that year it was extended west to the Sands Street Terminal. The following year it was extended east to Wyckoff Avenue and finally to Metropolitan Avenue in 1906.

 

Heavy steam locomotives pulled the Myrtle Avenue El's cars during its first decade of service. By 1900, the elevated lines were electrified and the lighter new trains were permitted on the Brooklyn Bridge, allowing Myrtle Avenue and Fulton Street El trains a direct route to Manhattan.

 

But beginning in the 1930s—with the opening of what today is the subway's G Line and the decline of business along Brooklyn's once vibrant waterfront—ridership on the Myrtle Avenue El decreased. After eighty years, to the dismay of many passengers with fond memories, "Old Myrt" closed on October 4, 1969 and was demolished the following year. Its cars were the last wooden passenger trains in regular service anywhere in North America.

 

The closing of the Myrtle Avenue El ended service from Bridge-Jay Street to Wyckoff Avenue, but the eastern end of the line from Wyckoff Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue still remains in service as the subway's M train.

 

See some photos at : http://mta.info/news/stories/?story=421

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Brings back memories! I remember all of this as a child as if it were yesterday. My parents brought me home from Brooklyn Hospital on the Myrtle Avenue el back in 1960. I was nine when I rode the el for the very last time.

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