Park Row (BMT station)
Park Row was a major elevated railway terminal constructed over the New York end of the Brooklyn Bridge, across from New York City Hall in Manhattan that served as the terminal for BMT services operating over the Brooklyn Bridge from the BMT Fulton Street Line, BMT Myrtle Avenue Line and their feeders. Until the opening of the nearby Williamsburg Bridge to elevated train traffic in 1913, it was the only Manhattan station available for elevated trains from Brooklyn.
Early history (1883-1913)
For the first decade-and-a-half of its existence, it was used exclusively by trains of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge Railway, a cable-hauled line that spanned the length of the bridge between Park Row and another terminal at the Brooklyn end of the bridge.
On June 18, 1898, elevated trains of predecessor companies of the BMT began using the station during off-peak hours, while the cable-hauled shuttle continued to run at rush hours. On January 27, 1908 the shuttle was eliminated and elevated trains began running to Park Row at all times.
At its height, Park Row terminal had four platforms on four tracks in the main part of the terminal, and another three platforms on two tracks beyond (west of) the main train shed. This resulted in very complex scheduling and track shifting, so that most trains discharged their passengers at dedicated exit platforms and then were transferred to tracks on other platforms for loading of outgoing passengers. From the turn of the 20th century until 1913, the following lines were hosted at least part-time at Park Row:
From Fulton Street Line (Kings County Elevated Railway)
From Myrtle Avenue Line (Brooklyn Union Elevated Railway)
- Myrtle Avenue Line
- Lexington Avenue Line (Brooklyn) via Myrtle Avenue Line from Grand Avenue
- Fifth Avenue Line via Myrtle Avenue Line from Navy Street
- Culver Line via Myrtle Avenue Line and Fifth Avenue Line from 36th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn via 9th Avenue lower level.
- West End Line via Myrtle Avenue Line and Fifth Avenue Line from 36th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn via 9th Avenue upper level.
- Third Avenue-Bay Ridge Line via Myrtle Avenue Line and Fifth Avenue Line from 36th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn (cars often attached to end of Culver trains during non-rush hours)
- Sea Beach Line via Myrtle Avenue Line, Fifth Avenue Line, and West End Line from Bath Junction (cars often attached to end of West End trains during slack times)
Gradual decline (1913-1940)
As new bridges and new subways took the pressure off the Brooklyn Bridge services, ridership at Park Row gradually declined.
Services withdrawn from terminal
- October 27, 1913: Last day of Sea Beach elevated service, in preparation for the new grade-separated line that began to use the Fourth Avenue subway on June 22, 1915
- June 23, 1916: West End trains began using the Fourth Avenue subway exclusively
- August 1, 1920: Brighton Beach trains began using a new connection to the BMT Broadway Line subway, severing its connection with the Fulton Street Line
- May 30, 1931: Some Culver trains were rerouted to the Fourth Avenue subway and the BMT Nassau Street Line when the latter line opened
- 1936: Park Row was reconfigured to two tracks total (the two southern main shed tracks) in recognition of its declining use and to simplify operations
- May 31, 1940: In preparation for New York City takeover of the BMT system, the Fifth Avenue and Bay Ridge lines and services were abandoned, which also ended remaining Culver elevated service via those lines. The main line of the Fulton Street line was abandoned at the same time and, on June 1, a new service, Fulton-Lex, was introduced, bringing trains from the surviving outer portion of the Fulton Street Line to Park Row over the Broadway, Lexington and Myrtle Avenue Lines.
Final operations (1940-1950)
- March 5, 1944, all remaining elevated lines stopped using Park Row, and the Myrtle Avenue, Lexington Avenue, and Fulton-Lex services were cut back to the Bridge Street station in downtown Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Bridge streetcars were shifted to the elevated tracks and used them until 1950, when all transit was removed from the bridge. The streetcars did not use the Park Row terminal, but continued to use the trolley loops beneath the train shed, which was torn down.
- Cudahy p168
Cudahy, Brian (2002). How We Got to Coney Island: The Development of Mass Transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County. Fordham University Press.