crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 90, no. 2328]: October 26, 1912

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_050_00000979

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
^f^mm^£^im. OCTOBER 2(;, 1912 WHERE HELL GATE'S WATERS WILL BE SPANNED (iy4t Scaly Rock, a Secluded Place on the Astoria Shore, The Bronx and Queens Will Be Linked Together to Join New England to Westerly, Long Island. COMPARATIVELY few people in Manhattan and not many more in Brooklyn have the remotest idea where Scaly Rock is. Even if you told them that it is at the foot of Ditmars avenue, Astoria, they probably would not be able to get there without minute direc¬ tions. And until quite recently there was nothing in the world to go there for, unless one wished to get a practical idea of what a remarkable city is New York, with its strange contrasts ot monster skyscrapers, teeming tene¬ ments and remote, silent shore fronts; or unless, perhaps, one wished to demon¬ strate to oneself the fact that the Bor¬ ough of Queens is a place of magnificent distances. Scaly Rock, though a little less remote than it was in the days of Patrick Glea¬ son, is still a secluded spot on the shores of Astoria. If you drew a straight line broken into rectangular spaces by dirt street, cement curb and sidewalks— the only visible indications that remote Scaly Rock and its environs belong to New York City. Here and there these blocks of land are still diligently farm¬ ed. With a catapult you could almost throw a stone from the beds of flourish¬ ing vegetables into the densely peopled tenement section of Harlem, where the high price of food is a matter of daily concern. But all this is in the way of being changed. The quiet of Scaly Rock is being disturbed by the noise and bustle of a contractor's gang with all that that means. A few yards from one of its finest mansions a great hole is daily growing larger and huge cranes are swinging the excavated rock and earth across the shore road to fill in an area along the waterfront, at a point just op- swerves west to join the Pennsylvania tunnels under the East River to the great passenger terminal at Seventh avenue and Thirty-third street, Manhat¬ tan. From Woodside the other branch continues south through Winfield, Glen¬ dale, passing the Queens border into Brooklyn, through East New York, then in a generally westerly course through Flatbush to the Pennsylvania Railroad piers at the foot of Sixty- fourth and Sixty-fifth streets. Bay Ridge, From Woodside, in Long Island City, to the Bay Ridge waterfront, the road is exclusively for freight, connection be¬ ing made with the Pennsylvania freight yard at Greenville, N. J., by floats across the Lower Bay from Bay Ridge. The Long Island Railroad, which has had in charge the work of constructing the trackage from Long Island City to Bay Ridge, has practically completed it, FOOT OP DITMARS AVENUE SHOWING CONSTRUCTION OPERATIONS A RIVER FRONT VIEW OP THE BRIDGE SITE. from it across Ward's Island to Man¬ hattan the westerly end of your line would project itself into Harlem Lake in Central Park—just a block or two below 100th street. But like many secluded spots it is more or less picturesque. It looks out upon the narrow stretch of swirling, eddying water that separates Astoria from Ward's Island; a stream which, swift as its own current, serves as a sort of respite from the rougher waters at its two extensions. Hell Gate and Little Hell Gate, the Scylla and Charybdis of East River traffic. Much of the River and Sound travel passes it by day and night. Years ago about the neighborhood of Scaly Rock stretched the country es¬ tates of well-to-do families. Some fine specimens of these substantial homes remain, but they no longer serve their original purpose. For a couple of miles north, east and south, level fields stretch away towards College Point and Long Island City, posite the center of Ward's Island. For here has been started a great $20,000,000 project that is to link New England with the South and West and to fur¬ nish passenger and freight service by a joint scheme involving three railroads. This joint scheme is known as the New York Connecting Railroad. In it are the Pennsylvania Railroad, the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the Long Island Railroad; and the most important part in the whole scheme is the great bridge—commonly referred to as the Hell Gate Bridge. This bridge, with its foundations at Port Morris, in The Bronx, and Scaly Rock, Astoria, will span Bronx Kills, bearing south on Randall's Island to Little Hell Gate, crossing this and bearing still south to about the center of Ward's Island, and then swinging eastward, spanning Hell Gate and touching the mainland at Scaly Rock. From here it follows a diagonal course southeasterly through Astoria and Long Island City. At Woodside one branch with the exception of that portion be¬ tween Glendale and East New York. The plan for the New York Connect¬ ing Railroad and the Hell Gate Bridge was part of the general scheme of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1900 to enter New York City by means of tunnels under the North River, build a great passenger station at Seventh avenue and Thirty-third street and connect Long Island City with Manhattan by East River tunnels. The latter—the New York part of the great plan—took pre¬ cedence over the less urgent one. In 1906 the late A. J. Cassatt, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, took up the matter of the New York Connecting Railroad with the old Rapid Transit Board, of which Alexander E. Orr was president. The franchise asked for was granted by the Rapid Transit Board. As was then necessary under the law, the board forwarded the matter to the Board of Aldermen for its consent. The Board of Aldermen, however, held up the franchise.