The trolley car, NYC’s once clangorously bustling mode of transportation, was a victim of this city’s rapid pace of evolution. Trolley car service in this town ran from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century and almost from the start was faced with extinction. Rival corporate and government interests in elevated trains, then bus transport and, with increased private car ownership, in highway projects managed to have the city’s trolley rails either dismantled or literally buried in the course of their incursive progress. Indeed, even though some trolley service continued into the 1950s, their enforced obsolescence was so intense that during that same decade The Trolley Museum of New York was founded to preserve their memory.
[Elisabeth] De Bourbon [a Landmarks spokesperson] added that while DUMBO is noted for its tracks, Fulton Ferry Landing’s distinguishing characteristic was the ferry landing, not the old-school mode of transportation that rumbled away from it through DUMBO and points beyond.
Then again, there are those who not only oppose De Bourbon and her ilk’s smug assertion of the tracks’ historic insignificance but also maintain a belief in their current viability as well:
“When these people say the tracks are all finished and garbage, they don’t know what they are talking about,” said Bob Diamond, a Brooklyn legend ever since he discovered a long-abandoned trolley tunnel under Atlantic Avenue almost 30 years ago.
“The tracks must still have at least 25 years of use in them,” he said. The asphalt is a pretty good preservative. The ones on Old Fulton Street being removed could be used to restore trolley service in Downtown Brooklyn.
Indeed, a restoration of trolley car service in the DUMBO/ Fulton Street area is what many preservationists desire. Not only would it be a “classic symbol” of the borough itself but a “convenient and stylish attraction that would deliver visitors from downtown to the hard-to get-to Park” as well.
Nevertheless, what may be attractive and practical to the many is rarely as attractive because less lucrative to the few. I’d venture a guess that these landmarks officials realize which side their bread is buttered on when they evaluate history and determine the infrastructural look and feel of our city.
Source: Brooklyn Paper
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