OLDNYC.COM--> Virtual Tour -->Cross-Brooklyn Expressway --> Section 2 Picture Gallery #5

The south side of the trench in this area has a lot of rocks and boulders in this area.

For the construction of the Cross-Brooklyn Expressway, highway engineers would have had to remove the trenched walls along both sides of the railroad ROW in order to squeeze the expressway through this area.



The BMT F subway line (Culver Line) rises above the ROW.  Two factories line both the north side and south side of the ROW.  McDonald Avenue is serviced by the overpass.

Interesting enough, reviewing the section engineering proposals from nycroads.com for the Cross-Brooklyn Expressway, the Section 2 proposal does not mention the BMT subway line and how the Cross-Brooklyn was going to pass by it.  I would guess that underpinning techniques would have been used as to provide uninterrupted service for the subway during the construction of the expressway, just as the engineers were going to do for the West End and Coney Island subway lines. OldNYC.com contributor Slade Gellin adds: "Just west of McDonald Avenue, there were tracks leading from the right-of-way to the trolley tracks (actually, the South Brooklyn Railroad) under McDonald Avenue near Avenue I."



The subway passes over the LIRR Bay Ridge Branch as the tour continues past the two factories.  Notice how close the factories are to the ROW at this point, and also notice how tight the ROW is at this point.

One of these factories would have had to have been destroyed in order to make way for the Cross-Brooklyn Expressway.  But then again, maybe not!



As we pass the factories, we come to the East 3rd Street overpass.  This overpass has not been refurbished.  Notice how the tan concrete that characterizes the overpass's facade.  Many of the overpasses along the ROW looked like this one before they were reconstructed.

Along the south ROW, a large cement wall juts out in to the trench.



As we pass the concrete wall and turn to face west, we see that the concrete wall has displaced much of the fill for the trench.  Steel girders towards the rear of the cement wall show that a multi-floored building might be going up in this area.  A question comes to mind: is the building actually being built on LIRR property? Or are they building right to the edge of the railroad property line?

In any event, since this building is fairly new, Moses' engineers may not have had to worry about the building when considering the ROW for the Cross-Brooklyn Expressway in this area.

Slade Gellin returns to OldNYC.com to share this interesting information about the area with us: "As a follow-up to my previously published comments about the connection with the South Brooklyn Railroad on McDonald Avenue, the factory on the right of the photo was not there when the Cross-Brooklyn Expressway was being proposed.  That area was an open lot at one time.  I believe the area was known to the railroad as Parkville Junction.  The concrete wall and structure on top of it east of McDonald Avenue was not there either.  I grew up on that street (Elmwood Avenue) which ran parallel to and just south of the right-of-way.  On that stretch of Elmwood Avenue (the north, or right-of-way side, between East 3rd Street and McDonald Avenue) there was no sidewalk.  A chain link fence separated the street from the embankment down to the right-of-way.  I learned only recently that a switch track to the SBK existed on the east side of McDonald Avenue as well!  This would explain why that side of the street was never developed until, apparently, just recently.  I never saw traces of this track (I admittedly never looked), but there was a factory on the south side of Elmwood Avenue (Silver Star Ravioli) that would have blocked it. I do remember that the street was shoddily paved, however, with cobblestone showing through the asphalt. This could have hidden the tracks."

Slade continues, "Here is a link to the map of the SBK: http://rapidtransit.com/net/gcbook/images/m2.gif.  A few interesting things at Parkville Junction: Pre-grade crossing elimination, there were tracks from the west on Bay Ridge to the south on SBK; from the east on Bay Ridge to the south on SBK; and from the east on Bay Ridge to the north on SBK.  Post-grade crossing, the connection to the north on SBK is eliminated.  Note also that the switches are placed further away from Gravesend (McDonald) on both sides, and intersect the SBK further south than pre-grade crossing, which makes sense since the trains need room to climb to street level.  Notice that the track from the east crosses Elmwood between E 2 St and McDonald.  That would put it square into the ravioli factory of my youth, but, more importantly, it explains the rise in elevation that existed from about that point on Elmwood to McDonald -- the street crossed the railroad at the grade required!  The map also confirms why there was never any development (through 1976 at least) on the north side of Elmwood between E 3 St and McDonald -- the switch begins at E 3 and quickly takes over the property between the main ROW and the street.  Another interesting fact -- look at the profile of the project on the lower portion of the map. It appears that the Bay Ridge branch always went below Ocean Parkway, and that the grade crossing project would have only a minor effect at that point.  This may explain why the overpass there has an "older" style than some of the others in that area -- it may have needed some modification, but never had to be completely rebuilt!"

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