wide-open space along the east side of the right of way.
First the engineers come to excavate the land and lay the rails and track. After many years of abandonment, nature has a way of claiming the property back for it's own use. These rails are not going to prevent this tree from growing! This tree is going to grow around the rails.
In the surrounding area, Parkside Station once served the community as a station for the Rockaway Branch. The station had stairs feeding in to Metropolitan Avenue. Remnants of the station no longer exist in this area.
The Reverend Edward A. Ryan, a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, shares with us this story about the Rockaway Beach branch: "I grew up in Forest Hills about three blocks away from the right of way of the Rockaway Branch of the LIRR. During my boyhood the line had been progressively cut back from Rockaway to Hamilton Beach and then to Ozone Park as the IND subway link was created to replace the trestle across Jamaica Bay. My best friend, now also a priest, lived not far from the Parkside station and we often went there on summer afternoons to watch the one remaining commuter train discharge its passengers. On June 8, 1962, together with another friend, we rode the final train to leave the mainline at Whitepot Junction and make its sad journey down the branch to Ozone Park. May I offer one immediate correction to your very able commentary. The Parkside Station had high platforms and they were wooden as were the station buildings and covered stairways. The Rego Park Station had the same construction as did - I believe - the Brooklyn Manor Station. Stations further along were of concrete as they had been elevated in the 1930's. At some point in the late 1950's the railroad removed the original southbound (eastbound in railroad parlance) track [No. 2 track to be technical] and allowed all trains to operate on No. 1 track utilizing a spring switch at Whitepot Junction. This necessitated putting down a new platform at Parkside for people traveling to Ozone Park or detraining at Parkside from the southbound train. The platform was a low level cinder covered affair placed where track No. 2 used to be. At the same time the high platform and buildings on the west side of the right of way were removed. My father's family moved to Forest Hills in 1926 and my father and uncle traveled to work on the LIRR before the subway come out Queens Blvd. They remembered the Matawok Station."
The Metropolitan Avenue trestle. Advertising signs grace the steel railing that lines the trestle. Large cement walls provide support stanchions for the trestle. The interlocking metal support beams brace the trestle over the sidewalk.
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