168th Street (BMT Jamaica Line)
|Former New York City Subway station|
Former 168th Street Station building at Jamaica Avenue and 165th Street, seen in 2013.
|Address||Jamaica Avenue & 168th Street|
Queens, NY 11433
|Line||BMT Jamaica Line|
|Transit connections||Jamaica Surface Line|
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Opened||July 3, 1918|
|Closed||September 10, 1977|
|Former/other names||Cliffside Avenue|
|Next south||160th Street (demolished)|
168th Street was the terminal station on the demolished section of the BMT Jamaica Line. Located between 165th and 168th Streets on Jamaica Avenue, it had two tracks and one island platform. The next stop to the south was 160th Street. This station was built as part of the Dual Contracts in 1918, and was closed in 1977 in anticipation of the Archer Avenue Subway, and due to political pressure in the area.
168th Street was part of two Dual Contracts extensions of the BMT Broadway-Jamaica Line east of Cypress Hills and the "S-Curve" from Fulton Street to Jamaica Avenue. It opened on July 3, 1918, replacing 111th Street as the line's terminus. 168th Street station also replaced the Canal Street Station along the Atlantic Avenue Rapid Transit line (today part of the LIRR Main Line), which closed nineteen years earlier, and supplanted the trolley service on Jamaica Avenue.
The station was constructed with a diamond crossover switch west of the station, and a large signal and switch tower built to the south side of the elevated structure at 165th Street. The entrance to the station at this location was built into an alcove of the signal building, which contained storefronts at ground level. Past the crossover, the line expanded to three tracks, with the middle track ending at 160th Street. While reports say the station had a concrete platform, photographs show a wooden platform. It served trains from the BMT Jamaica-Nassau Street Line to Manhattan (the predecessors to today's J and Z trains) and from the BMT Lexington Avenue Line. The station also connected to the nearby 165th Street Bus Terminal (opened in 1936) at 89th Avenue and Merrick Boulevard via an exit on 165th Street.
Decline and closure
In 1937, the Queens Boulevard Line of the city-owned Independent Subway System was extended to a new terminal at 169th Street and Hillside Avenue, four blocks away. The opening of the IND terminal drew passengers away from the BMT lines.
Many groups had called for the removal of the extension in the Jamaica Business district since shortly after it opened, and by the 1960s the city planned to close the station and significant portions of the line in Jamaica. Many merchants credited the line with causing blight and hurting business in the neighborhood.
The line was also torn down in preparation for the completion of the Archer Avenue Subway one block south, which would serve the Jamaica Line and a spur of the IND Queens Boulevard Line. Construction of that line began in 1972. 168th Street closed at midnight on September 10, 1977, and by 1979 the elevated structure from 168th Street to Sutphin Boulevard was torn down. The line was truncated to Queens Boulevard, with the Q49 bus replacing the demolished portion of the line until December 11, 1988.
In spite of the support of local business owners for the demolition of the line, stores continued to suffer and several establishments closed due to the absence of the El. This included the large Macy's location in the 165th Street Pedestrian Mall near the bus terminal.
Unlike the 160th Street and Sutphin Boulevard stations, which were completely demolished in 1979, 168th Street's former control tower, known as the "Station and Trainmen's Building", still remains standing on the southeast corner of 165th Street and Jamaica Avenue. It sits inactive atop a block of storefronts. The exit stairways for the station were purchased by a private citizen to be used on their estate in Nissequogue on the Long Island Sound.
The Archer Avenue Line was completed in 1988, nearly ten years after the closure of the station, but it does not extend east to 168th Street. The closest subway stations to this former station are Jamaica Center – Parsons/Archer, at Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue, which is nine blocks west and one block south, as well as the existing 169th Street station which is four blocks to the north on Hillside Avenue.
- "New Subway Line: Affords a Five-Cent Fare Between Manhattan and Jamaica, L.I." (PDF). The New York Times. July 7, 1918. p. 30.
- "OPEN NEW SUBWAY TO REGULAR TRAFFIC; First Train on Seventh Avenue Line Carries Mayor and Other Officials ... New Extensions of Elevated Railroad Service … Currents of Travel to Change". The New York Times (July 2, 1918). New York Times Company. July 2, 1918. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- "'L' Trains Now Run Through to Jamaica" (PDF) (July 4, 1918). Leader Observer (Queens/Brooklyn, NY). July 4, 1918. p. 1. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- Report of the Public Service Commission for the First District of the State of New York, Volume 1. New York State Public Service Commission. January 10, 1919. pp. 61, 71, 285, 286. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
- "Open "L" Extension to Jamaica Today". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 2, 1918. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- The New York Transit Authority in the 1970s, nycsubway.org
- Subway FAQ: A Brief History of the Subway
- Dembart, Lee (September 9, 1977). "A Sentimental Journey on the BMT..." (PDF). nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
- Breslin, Rosemary (May 22, 1983). "AFTER A LONG SLIDE, HOPE FOR JAMAICA". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
- Herman, Robin (July 4, 1979). "For Jamaica, Redevelopment Is a Promise Unfulfilled; Projects Are Thwarted". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
- "Rapid Transit Extension: Frequent Trains and Low Fares All the Way to Rockaway Junction". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 24, 1890. p. 1. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- New York City Transit Authority (October 7, 1957). "Image Showing BMT Jamaica Elevated Entrance at Jamaica Avenue and 165th Street: Jamaica Line (BMT)". New York Transit Museum. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- New York City Board of Transportation (February 28, 1944). "168th Street Station on the BMT Nassau Street /Jamaica Line. Showing the platform with stationed train and passengers". New York Transit Museum. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- Fowler, Glenn (July 27, 1975). "Proposal to End Jamaica Ave. El at Queens Blvd. Is Opposed" (PDF). nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
- "Stores Now Leasing! In the New Long Island Bus Terminal at 165th Street, Jamaica". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 16, 1936. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "New Lines Shift City Travel". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 8, 1937. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "Business Property to Let". Newspapers.com. Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 3, 1930. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "Topics; In Transit Tendentious Traveler Stylish Stairs Clamped Cars". nytimes.com. The New York Times. July 23, 1978. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
- Johnson, Kirk (December 9, 1988). "Big Changes For Subways Are to Begin". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- "Queens Merchants Win More Bus Service". nytimes.com. The New York Times. March 17, 1989. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
- "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Jamaica" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.