LENS

December 2, 2010

Bushwick Industrial Train Tracks – November 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — wally426 @ 5:51 pm

On a cold blustery Saturday morning I met up with a fellow street-art photographer, Charles Le Brigand, at the old Bushwick train tracks on Varick Ave. We had both heard about the rarely used sections of track out in no-man’s land, but hadn’t experienced them first hand. Here’s a small blurb on the tracks from BushwickBK.com:

The tracks snake through Williamsburg, Bushwick and Maspeth, carving large swaths of open space in neighborhoods not known for their parks. Once inside, visitors experience complete isolation as they walk by graffiti-covered factories, abandoned rail cars and countless stained mattresses. While the tracks, in their current state, may seem like a garbage-packed wasteland of little use, they once played a significant role in local commerce and continue providing freight service to the area’s industries.

The portion of rails running across Morgan Avenue used to be part of the Long Island Railroad Bushwick Branch, which provided passenger service from a recently-demolished train station at Montrose Avenue and Bushwick Place to a junction with the LIRR Montauk Branch near Flushing Avenue and Rust Street in Maspeth.

Following the Bushwick Branch east leads the adventurous under ominous industrial complexes and dark overpasses that provide shelter for homeless people. The tracks continue until Fresh Pond Junction, where locomotives’ thundering engines still shake the ground. From here, the tracks split into several directions, including lines to Jamaica Station and Long Island City.

The southern branch continued to operate until the early 1980s, said John Dereszewski, a Bushwick historian and former Community Board 4 leader. Several industries, including a lumber yard in the lot that is now occupied by Food Dimensions near Wyckoff and Woodbine, were its last significant users.

“At one time, they would unload livestock from the trains and walk them to slaughterhouses in the area,” Dereszewski said. “Can you imagine that?”

The last time the Bushwick Branch made headlines was when a runaway locomotive plowed through five cars before bursting into flames near the Varick Avenue crossing in early 2004. Workers at the Fresh Pond rail yard mistakenly left the empty train unhitched, causing it to roll downhill across Metropolitan Avenue — luckily, the accident did not cause any fatalities.

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Graffic Closeups

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West

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Last vision

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Debon’d

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Catch-All

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Fandom

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Hot Tin

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Overgroan

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The silent place

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Kontraz’d

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Where they lived

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RoundrZ

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Brok’d

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Wall of Phame

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No Karz Go

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Death’s Calling

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Gonzoid

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Left out to dry

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Ghost Shoes

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DART’s pieces always seem to have vines growing on them…

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Citiwide

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Entranc’d

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Larger than Life

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Griddlz

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Trainitti

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Koskyookoe

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Ghost Trees

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Marx-da-spot

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Towards LIC

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LayRiz’d

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The things they left behind…

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Spinwhíl

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Crush’d

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A place to rest your head

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No Cars Go

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Looking Glass

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