Through, to, under, and around the Junction

After many trips through Broadway Junction for my neighborhood visits, I’d started to get the hang of how it works. This time, though, it was the focus of my attention.

To get there and back, I used another familiar junction, one that has yet to receive the blessing of the MTA: the Junius St (3)-Livonia Av (L) transfer in Brownsville. Arriving at my target on a Manhattan-bound L, I decided to go one stop beyond to Bushwick Av-Aberdeen St. That’s the best way to get a good view of the East New York Yard.

After hopping across to the Canarsie-bound train, I was greeted (again) at Broadway Junction with a great view of Manhattan. The L track here is one of the highest points in the system.

Broadway Junction is a busy station, but my guess is most who use it are just transferring*. As a result, when there is a lull between trains, the place can feel deserted.

The J/Z, also elevated, goes under the L track. In the background you can see the track that connects the Manhattan-bound L and J/Z.

The A/C is downstairs. The tiles used to say “BROADWAY” “EAST N Y”, but the latter half has been replaced to reflect the station’s streamlined name. There’s nothing exciting down here.

Once out of the station, you can catch a glimpse of the remains of the old Fulton Street El. You can also see that there’s plenty of places for cars to go. $6 gets you parking for the full day. (Leave your car at your own risk.)

The LIRR goes under Atlantic Avenue a few blocks to the south. I wanted to get a picture of an LIRR train going under an Atlantic Avenue bus going under an L train, but it didn’t work out. The station has a creepy underpass.

Eastern Parkway is to the west. It’s a wide commercial street.

Walking away from the Broadway Junction station on Fulton Street, I came across a long string of churches. An absurdly long string. Only a vacant property (a former church, perhaps?) and an auto-driving school got between these seven houses of worship.

Many residents were hanging on their stoops and porches, and in front of stores. A few found other activities to keep them busy.

Most of the architecture in the area was par for the course. Having Broadway cut across at a diagonal did make for some unusual spaces.

The platform at the Chauncey St J station offers another decent view of Manhattan.

To check out western Cypress Hills, I took the J three stops east (through Broadway Junction) to Van Siclen Av. Looking north, I could see just how elevated the Highland Park area is.

Jamaica Avenue separates Highland Park from Cypress Hills. On one side, you have charming streets cut off abruptly by steep hills. On the other, you have crumbling structures. (This one is an extreme example, but many other properties were in disrepair.)

On the neighborhood’s southern end is Atlantic Avenue, which I had explored in my trip to East New York. It’s (still) an ugly wasteland dedicated to the automobile. I did not have any desire to stay at this motel.

There were a few nice spots, though, including the “East Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library”, now known as the Arlington Branch.

To me, the feel of this part of Cypress Hills was no different from the eastern half, so I called it a day – but not before a late lunch/early dinner at Tavares on Cleveland Street. They had some dishes simmering under heat lamps; I had a very good chicken stew with rice. The owner and staff were very friendly. I took in the rapid-fire Spanish while I watched the conclusion of a US-Brazil volleyball match. (Learning Spanish would be very helpful for many of my journeys.)

Of course, I had one last trip through Broadway Junction. Now that it was pushing 5:30, the place was a zoo.

Here’s the map.

*On an average weekday in 2011, 8,411 riders swiped their MetroCards at Broadway Junction; this number doesn’t count transfers. That’s about 1,200 fewer than the 7 Av B/Q, which has no transfers. As a frequent user of the latter station, I can vouch that Broadway Junction always feels much busier.

Update (May 2013): in a conversation for my post on subway accessibility, an MTA spokesperson confirmed that Broadway Junction is the third-most-popular station in Brooklyn, with over 100,000 daily users.

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7 Responses to Through, to, under, and around the Junction

  1. Old Skool says:

    Keith: just found your blog thru Forgotten-NY. Interesting stuff. I will be back .

  2. nic says:

    I transferred from the J to the A at Broadway-East New York to get to high school every morning and I had no idea that Broadway Junction was considered its own neighborhood. Thanks for teaching me something new. I was just there on Saturday, by the way, and the station is just as crazy as ever. It must also be one of the most religious places in the MTA system (perhaps because of the stained glass?). When I pass through there, I regularly see Nation of Islam pamphleteers, Jehovah’s Witnesses and on Saturday, Evangelical Christians urging us all to repent. Throw in the hipsters transferring from the L to the Rockaway Beach-bound A and it’s a really interesting place.

    • Keith says:

      Nic, you raise a good point about whether Broadway Junction is in fact a separate neighborhood. A few names in my hat have historical importance but no longer exist functionally (Weeksville and West Brighton come to mind, with lesser emphasis on Mapleton and Tompkins Park North).

      I got my list from the Department of City Planning. The one published by the Center for the Study of Brooklyn (http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/pub/departments/csb/1659.htm) is more recent, and is the one used by the Brooklyn Museum GO campaign (http://www.gobrooklynart.org/explore/neighborhoods).

      Broadway Junction is there, although this list has only 67 neighborhoods, so I have 13 extras! I’m fine with this, because it allows me to spread my focus – and my walks – over a longer period. I plan to write a post on this topic at some point.

      In the future I intend to be more assertive in asking people, “What neighborhood am I in?” and using that to get a sense of how residents perceive their area.

  3. Lefty says:

    This is what stood at Broadway Junction back in the 1890s:

    http://www.luckyshow.org/football/ep.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Park

    It was the Mecca of American sports back then. If I ever find a TARDIS we’ll go there and have loads of fun. Dinner at Gage & Tollner is on me. :)

  4. Lefty says:

    I thought it would be a good idea to go on a double date at Gage & Tollner – here’s the lady you will have the pleasure of escorting:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bf/Cleo_de_Merode_1903.jpg/180px-Cleo_de_Merode_1903.jpg

    ~ the Lovely Cleo de Merode

    As for me, I’ll be with my all time ideal beauty Maud Adams:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7NlRbz7jYt8/ULK7yD7Ic_I/AAAAAAAAFek/OfBK5WLoAhg/s1600/maude.jpg

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