WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES FEBRUARY 8, 2018 19
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
known as Brooklyn Ferry Road and
today called Jamaica Avenue). Subsequently,
this portion of Fresh Pond
Road became known as Stony Road.
If you look at a map and follow Fresh
Pond Road south, it ends at Myrtle
Avenue. Prior to 1914, Fresh Pond Road
curved southeast at what is 69th Avenue,
then wound its way to Jamaica Avenue.
In 1914, Fresh Pond Road was continued
south to Myrtle Avenue; the
portion of Fresh Pond Road south of
Myrtle Avenue was renamed Cypress
Hills Street until it reached Stony Road.
* * *
Unlike the other roads, Metropolitan
Avenue was laid out in 1813 as the
Williamsburgh-Jamaica Turnpike. It
took three years to complete the seven
mile road from the Newtown Creek
in Williamsburgh to the intersection
of Van Wyck Street (now Van Wyck
Expressway) and the Brooklyn-Jamaica
Turnpike (now Jamaica Avenue).
Formally opened in September
1816, brothers Stephen and Samuel
Masters operated the toll road. It was
used by farmers from Long Island
to bring their produce to the Grand
Street ferry in Williamsburgh, which
connected them to Manhattan and the
all-important Catherine Street Market.
The Williamsburgh-Jamaica Turnpike
considerably shortened the distance
for the farmers.
About 1840, Middle Village came
into existence; it was so called because
it was near the midway point of the
turnpike, which ran through the heart
of the neighborhood.
Turnpike was improved in 1849.
Nine years later, the City of Brooklyn
renamed the portion of the road in
Brooklyn as Metropolitan Avenue.
Then, in 1867, steel rails were laid
along the road from the Grand Street
ferry in Williamsburgh to Dry Harbor
Road (now 80th Street) in Middle
Village. This allowed a horse-pulled
trolley to connect the Brooklyn and
In 1885, the toll was lift ed and the
turnpike became a public thoroughfare
bearing the name Metropolitan
* * *
Myrtle Avenue originated in Kings
County in 1835, running between
Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue.
Four years later, it was extended into
Broadway, and over the next 14 years
was pushed through the Queens towns
of Newtown and Jamaica.
In 1852, the Brooklyn-Jamaica Plank
Road Company obtained a franchise to
build a new plank toll road from the
intersection of Myrtle Avenue and
Cypress Hills Plank Road (Cypress Avenue)
eastward for 5 1/2 miles until it
This 1922 photo shows the southwest corner of Fresh Pond Road and Bleecker Street.
intersected with the Brooklyn-Jamaica
Plank Road (Jamaica Avenue) in what
is today Richmond Hill. The following
year, the company purchased a 70-footwide
strip of land from farmers to
allow for the road’s construction.
Opened on Jan. 1, 1854, Myrtle
Avenue featured two planked tracks
(wooden boards laid crosswise), each
nine feet wide and separated by nine
feet. Toll gates were erected at the
western end at Cypress Hills Road, at
Trotting Course Lane (Woodhaven
Boulevard) and at the eastern end of
the Brooklyn-Jamaica Plank Road.
The following year, the Brooklyn-Jamaica
Plank Road bought out the stagecoach
rights of the line that ran along
Myrtle Avenue from Broadway in
Brooklyn to Cypress Hills Road. They
replaced the service with horse cars
that ran along steel rails.
By 1865, the plank roads were fl oundering,
as the planks had rotted and
were not properly replaced, resulting
in roads that were in poor condition.
Eventually Myrtle Avenue between
Cypress Hills Road and Jamaica Avenue
became a public thoroughfare and
tolls were discontinued.
Reprinted from the Aug. 22 and Aug. 29,
1985, issues of the Ridgewood Times and
edited for format and style. Our thanks to
the Queens Library Digital Archives for
some of the pictures included in this article;
to check out more Queens history.
* * *
Share your history with us by emailing
Our Neighborhood: The Way it Was) or
write to The Old Timer, ℅ Ridgewood
Times, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361.
(Photo via Queens Library Digital Archives)
This April 1923 photo shows
Myrtle Avenue looking west from
65th Street in Glendale. (Photo via
Queens Library Digital Archives)
Any mailed pictures will be carefully
returned to you upon request.
Trolley tracks along Metropolitan Avenue in the early 20th century; the road was previously part of the
Williamsburgh-Jamaica Turnpike. (photo via Queens Library Digital Archives)