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Brooklyn, History, Transportation

A Coney Island trolley, via Coney Island History

It may be hard to imagine today, but Brooklyn of the late-19th and mid-20th centuries was full of trolley cars. A number of different companies built out an expansive trolley system that connected residents to different neighborhoods and up to Queens—in fact, by 1930, nearly 1,800 trolleys were traveling along the streets of Brooklyn from Greenpoint to Gowanus to Bay Ridge and beyond. (The Brooklyn Dodgers were originally known as the “Trolley Dodgers,” for the practice of jumping out of the path of speeding electric streetcars.)

But as automobiles began to take over the streets, trolley use diminished throughout New York. That, of course, meant that Brooklyn needed to figure out what to do with all those unneeded cars. According to Atlas Obscura, there were a few options, including sending cars to other cities as well as countries as far as South America, or selling them to museums. But the most fascinating—and forgotten—end to the Brooklyn trolley car can be found in Canarsie, where many were simply sunk into a pit about the size of a city block at the end of the Canarsie train line.

Learn more about this trolley graveyard

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