What’s a trolley station doing off second avenue?

Because subways and cars were doing a better job transporting people around the five boroughs, officials phased out the city’s trolleys by the 1950s.

Yet strangely, they forgot to dismantle at least one trolley kiosk.

Since 1957, it’s sat alone (and recently fenced off) on a concrete island off Second Avenue and 60th Street, where the Queensboro Bridge approach begins.

This little kiosk, with its terra cotta panels and copper roof, was once one of five serving passengers on the Manhattan side of the bridge.

Each sheltered a staircase leading to an undergound trolley station that took commuters to Roosevelt Island or into Queens.

You can still see the Entrance and Exit signs on the kiosk, which has been repainted recently—though the staircase has been removed and the floor is solid concrete.

“The trolley terminal is now used by the Department of Transportation to store trucks and equipment, but the streetcar portals can still be seen from the lower roadways of the bridge, just east of Second Avenue,” notes a 1998 New York Times article.

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8 Responses to “What’s a trolley station doing off second avenue?”

  1. Somebuddy Says:

    Thanks for posting this! With all the talk about the Low Line I’ve been looking at old photos of the trolley terminal and have wondered whatever happened to the dozen or so of these that lined that station. Nice to hear that one survived!

  2. Benjamin Waldman Says:

    There is a second one that is on Roosevelt Island, which you can enter

  3. Chris Helenius (@chrishelenius) Says:

    There’s pretty recent Street View imagery of one of its façades: http://goo.gl/maps/DRxS

  4. Is That a Phantom Tollbooth on the Queensboro?: Have you ever been heading down… – insiderater.com Says:

    […] Have you ever been heading down Second Avenue or exiting the 59th Street Bridge into Manhattan and w… Ephemeral NY has some information on a terra cotta and copper covering that once sheltered an entrance to a trolley station. [EphemeralNY] input, textarea{} #authorarea{ padding-left: 8px; margin:10px 0; width: 635px; } #authorarea h3{ border-bottom: 1px solid #B0B0B0; color: #333333; font-family: georgia; font-size: 19px; font-weight: normal; line-height: 22px; margin:0 4px 5px; padding-left: 8px;} #authorarea h3 a{text-decoration:none; color:#333; font-weight:bold} #authorarea img{margin:0 5px; float:left; border:1px solid #ddd; width:40px; height:40px;} #authorarea p{color:#333; margin:0} #authorarea p a{color:#333} .authorinfo{ } […]

  5. WHAMMO! Says:

    Any chance this is going to be absorbed into the 2nd ave. subway project?

  6. wildnewyork Says:

    Brilliant idea. They should find a way to do something with it.

  7. cartercraft Says:

    putting it in the 2nd Ave subway project would be such a wonderful gesture it will prob never happen!

  8. A bronze lamppost guards the Queensboro Bridge « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] The Roosevelt Island Historical Society plans to restore it and display it there, next to a renovated trolley kiosk once part of the bridge. […]

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