Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Steel and Sky and Five Trains Meet

A clear day on the L platform at Broadway Junction is a lovely treat, affording views to riders that stretch from Jamaica Bay to the Manhattan skyline. One of the highest platforms in the city, the station always provides a jolt from the routine to the extraordinary. It's yet another reason that elevated trains are worthy of celebration.

Located between the ridge of hills that separates Brooklyn from Queens and the ridge that Atlantic Avenue rides along (a stretch that a comment on this site taught me was once known as the "Green Mountains"), traffic has run through this gap since the Dutch first got here. It was a crucial pass that allowed the British to march on Gowanus and George Washington's army in the Battle of Long Island, and rail service to Jamaica has made use of the notch since the mid-19th century. The area around the current station was built up during that period as a "railroad town" (quoted from the link above--see the "history" section). Today, the station serves five trains on three separate lines, and offers the best transit-based workout in the city if you're trying to get from an A or C train to an L at rush hour.

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