Climbing up the embankment from the Montauk Branch back to the Rockaway Beach Branch, we see that there is a parking lot that was placed in the ROW!! An old factory took the liberty of claiming the ROW for the company's employee parking!
If the ROW was to be reused for transit, this parking lot would surely be reclaimed by the State and City of New York.
Behind the fence stands the remnants of the old Rockaway Beach/Montauk Branch crossing.
Oldnyc.com contributor Skip Horner provides us this information pertaining
to this particular parking lot: "The parking lot where the tracks were
paved over just south of the Montauk Branch (and just east of Seither Stadium
Little League field) was the parking lot for Coca-Cola. Coke has
since left the building there and has combined with its other location
in Maspeth. I worked as a temp for Coke in 1995 and actually parked in
that lot. If I remember correctly, there is/was a set of tracks that
may have connected from the Montauk branch to the Rockaway Beach Branch.
The Montauk Line runs under Woodhaven Boulevard and north of the Little
League field (at the corner of the Woodhaven Boulevard service road and
78th Avenue) and a track split to the southeast running first in front
of the entrance to the field (where the Woodhaven Boulevard service road
goes under the main road), then along the south side of the Little League's
property and eventually to the Rockaway Beach branch at Union Turnpike
right by the Forest Park Crescent (that's the big apartment building there).
These three sets of tracks (the Montauk main track, the Rockaway Beach
Line - from the burned bridge south and the little Montauk to Rockaway
Spur) along with the Woodhaven Boulevard main road's bridge, defined the
boundary of the Little League's property (although the field was fenced
in). I used to walk these tracks when I was a kid (more of the Montauk
Line, as I lived in Glendale), and I have one very distinct memory of the
Rockaway Beach Branch - it was in the later '70s (between '76 and '78),
I was between games umpiring at the Little League field, so I went along
the tracks to look for foul balls when I came upon a person who committed
suicide by hanging himself on one of the trees. This was just south of
the burned bridge. My map illustrates the locations of the Little
League field, the Coke warehouse and the Spur:"
Map created by and courtesy of Skip Horner.
This is a view of the parking lot, looking south. If you look closely enough at the picture, you can see that there are two lines running north and south in the parking lot. The pavement contractors paved right over the railroad tracks!
The company even put a light on top of one of the old railroad electrical
posts (the black box on top of the first post).
In the parking lot, a west view from the ROW.
The World Trade Center rises from the landscape in the background.
OldNYC.com frequent contributor JJ Earl adds: "In reference to the picture overlooking a ball field with the Twin Towers in the background: The track leading from the Montauk to the Branch had been dead-ended with a bumping block at the Union Turnpike overpass while several companies took cars off this track. Among them, U.S Plywood and Wolf's Head Oil. The ball field was once a sand and gravel yard operated by Colonial S&G. Each of these companies got service five nights a week. Service was also given to Heinz Warehouse and the foundry alongside the east side of the embankment."
OldNYC.com contributor Skip
Horner added this information pertaining to the area: "The spur track in
front of the entrance to the little league field is still there amazingly,
but... just barely to the west of the entrance, the Woodhaven Blvd. pedestrian
overpass has been rebuilt, and the track in that area has been paved over.
The track east of the field entrance is still there, although it is filled
in and is being used as "MORE PARKING" (as the cardboard sign said) for
the field. (I didn't venture too far there as I was on foot and didn't
want to look suspicious!)"
Skip also provided OldNYC.com with this map scan and commentary: "Here is a map of the Rockaway Beach and Montauk branches. You can see how the lines spur into each other. This map scan comes from the 1953 Hagstrom Atlas of New York City (large atlas)."
Map scan courtesy of Skip Horner, (C) 1953 Hagstrom Maps
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