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Instagram: Myrtle Avenue El

The End of the Line: the remains of the Myrtle Avenue el. Up through 1969, wooden trains rumbled along above Myrtle Avenue and into Downtown Brooklyn, along one of the borough's oldest elevated transit lines. In earlier eras, it carried people into the heart of Brooklyn, to the various industries and firms along the waterfront, to shopping districts, schools, and friends' houses, and even—through 1944—over the Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan. Regular riders included both my father and grandfather, who, in their youth, rode it every day to Brooklyn Tech. The line originally connected with the (Brooklyn) Broadway line, today's J train, and carried out past Broadway (nee Manhattan) Junction to Brooklyn's (then) city line. In 1915, the line was extended northward—the route of today's M train. However, while this northern section was built strong enough to handle heavy, all-steel subway cars, the original southern portion could only carry wooden cars, generally banned from subways for safety reasons. Unlike some other elevated lines, the southern part of the Myrtle Avenue el was never rebuilt for heavier cars, so until the end, only saw wooden cars shuttling back and forth between Metropolitan Avenue and Bridge Street in Downtown Brooklyn. At the height of the American suburban era—and near the nadir of American urbanism—the line was closed and demolished due to a lack of ridership. Today, this is all that remains of this original line: a two block section flying over the J train's Myrtle Avenue station, running one block north and one block south of the station, without tracks, signals, or trains. It is a strange experience to walk underneath an abandoned el, and for the life of me, I'm not sure why these stub ends were not demolished—especially the one heading south. However, I'm glad they weren't: they are a connection to the past, a symbol of both Brooklyn's height, driven by elevated railroads, and its nadir of abandonment, grime, and darkness. Of course, that's easy for me to say: I don't have to live next to it More below...

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Newark & Newark Penn Station

A walk through Newark's Penn Station

A trip to examine the #urbanism of #Newark, #NJ! Just a brief overview; hopefully I will post more in the upcoming days, but here are some brief descriptions: 1) Great overview of Newark, w/ the #DockBridge & #NewarkPenn 2) Gorgeous #ArtDeco #Architecture of #NewarkPennStation's waiting room! 3) Near Penn, Newark has some of the least friendly streets I've been on in a Northeastern city: little #walkability, and very Houston-like. 4) Military Park #Trolley Station & #DowntownNewark's more traditional struture! 5) A view from Military Park, looking over the #skyline 6) A street of #RowHouses converted for local retail 7) Beaver Street, looking North from Market forms a beautifully #urban alley 8) In contrast to Downtown, the streets of the #Ironbound-especially #FerrySt-have a gorgeous, human texture filled with mainly local stores. 9) Goregous view of Downtown from the #PassaicRiver 10) And I can't help but close with some #transit & #railroad history: a classic sign seen at #PATH's #HarrisonStation Enjoy! #UrbanPlanning #WalkingTours #Exploration #NewJersey

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Instagram: Hoboken & Lincoln Harbor

"Corporate Campus #Urbanism"... Seen in #LincolnHarbor, #Weehawken, #NJ. Though adjacent to light rail, and just across the Hudson River from one of the most transit-friendly cities in the world, this new development will almost certainly never become a truly urban environment. Wide streets and, empty setbacks; two stories of (at least somewhat hidden) parking; not a retail space in sight. The courtyard only gets worse: what do you want to look out on, the river? How about *more parking*! It's very sad that even a modern #TransitOrientedDevelopment near the heart of one of the most #urban #cities in the world could get so much so wrong. Truly disappointing, and it only gets worse when one considers that nearby #Hoboken exploding into one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the #NYC metro area. Quality, urban housing and more quality urban space is desperately needed. Nice view of the water, though... #UrbanPlanning #UrbanDesign

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