The Spirit of Brooklyn Rides the Trolley

Updates & Notes

As of early 2004, a variation of BCSC’s proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Park appeared on the architect’s plan. Vintage trolleys were to convey visitors from one end of the park to the other, stopping at the various attractions along the way. An exhibit of historic trolleys was to be included in a planned museum. Additionally, Pier 2, to eventually be demolished, was to contain interim use attractions while awaiting construction of the park, with BCSC as a participant. In the spring of that year, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation changed administrations and direction, eliminating all of the above. Several groups in the community are working to return the park to its original form (see below). BCSC has submitted an additional proposal suggesting the use of a narrow gauge line to save space.

The situation downtown Brooklyn, as of the start of 2006 is rather unsettled, with several major projects on the table and controversy surrounding most. When the issue of transportation is approached, BCSC will be ready. In Coney Island, BCSC’s proposal is currently under consideration by the Coney Island Economic Development Corporation. In all areas where proposals have been submitted, they have met with an enthusiastic reception by community and business as well as most local elected officials.

BCSC is currently seeking a site to establish a restoration project while advancing our primary mission of returning trolleys to the streets of Brooklyn. BCSC’s plan is to involve local vocational, technical and engineering schools as well as rail fans. BCSC will also establish a training program for those not currently enrolled in school.

BCSC has been in discussions with professional consulting and contracting firms. Additionally, BCSC has had discussions with companies that specialize in restoration of vintage trolleys and the building of authentic replicas in case in-house restoration projects do not fulfill demands. If and when given the go ahead, BCSC will be totally prepared.

Media:

  • Brooklyn Cable Access TV (BCAT) did a terrific spot, produced by Heather Tenzer, featuring BCSC Director Arthur Melnick, first aired on October 27, 2005 with several subsequent showings.
  • An article by Patrick Gallahue appeared in the November 28 edition of the New York Post.
  • On January 15, 2006, a wonderful piece by Jennifer Bleyer was featured in the New York Times.

Acknowledgments:

  • A project for and by the entire Brooklyn Community, BCSC can only succeed with the help and support of Brooklyn’s people and institutions.
  • Thanks to the Independence Community Foundation whose grant made this site possible. The Foundation serves our community by helping worthwhile projects throughout the area. Thank you Marilyn Gelber and Toya Williford.
  • Thanks also to the Dime Savings Bank for their kind donation.
  • Special thanks to Professor David Reiss of Brooklyn Law School and his elite teams of students for their invaluable legal help.
  • We are indebted to Angel Roman of the Small Business Development Center for his hard work on our behalf.
  • When in Coney Island, drop in and say hello to our good friend Jim Prince at Major Meats, 1516 Mermaid Avenue. He not only carries the finest prime meats in Brooklyn but is a friend to all who cross his threshold.
  • Kenn Lowy must be singled out for his valiant efforts to return the plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park to what it was originally: a world class park with activities and cultural institutions; an attraction for visitors from around the globe and a source of pride for all Brooklynites. As founder and president of Friends of Brooklyn Bridge Park, he has worked tirelessly toward that end. Kenn is also on the Board of Directors of BCSC.
  • Another crusader for the return of a sensible plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park is our good friend Judi Francis. Her efforts to create the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund have been above and beyond…
  • We thank Sandy Balboza, president of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association, for staunchly standing behind the concept of returning trolleys to Brooklyn.
  • We salute those who work so diligently to preserve our history and culture, protect our environment and safeguard the integrity of our neighborhoods.
  • We’re sorry that time and space does not allow us to mention more of our many good friends who have offered so much help and support.

Good Reads:

Actually, for those into the subject, these are all must reads!

  • Stan Fischler is best known nationwide as the foremost hockey maven in the country and a prolific author on that subject. He also writes some of the finest books on NYC transit and is a good friend of BCSC.
  • Confessions of a Trolley Dodger from Brooklyn (1995) H&M Productions (a personal favorite!)
  • The Subway: A Trip Through Time on New York’s Rapid Transit (1997) H&M Productions
  • The Subway and the City: Celebrating a Century (2004) Frank Merriwell, Inc. (a monumental work!)
  • James Clifford Geller is a transportation consultant and author of several books on the subject…also a good friend of BCSC.
  • 100 PCC Cars Ran in Brooklyn (2004) Explorer Press (by far the most comprehensive book on the subject)
  • Charles Denson heads up the Coney Island History Project and is the author of a phenomenal book on the subject; another friend of BCSC.
  • Coney Island: Lost and Found (2002) Ten Speed Press (the definitive source on Coney Island)