Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And just why was the Long Island Rail Road taking so many pictures in Great Neck in 1934?

In 1933 the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) was planning to eliminate the congested, some would say dangerous ground level crossing on Middle Neck Road by constructing an overpass.  The LIRR insisted that lowering, or "depressing" the tracks, which Great Neck residents wanted,  was too expensive.  A solution was only arrived at when William and Florence Barstow donated $32,000 to cover the additional cost of lowering the tracks.  Seventh Avenue, which joined North and South Station Plaza was renamed in their honor - Barstow Road.  Lowering the LIRR tracks through Great Neck was quite a large and complicated job for a small town, involving much planning, surveying, earth moving and old fashioned manpower.  Many would argue that track depression is the way most other Long Island communities should have gone, considering the number of ground level crossing accidents and fatalities they've had, and how few incidents Great Neck has had.  Still, by 1935, residents had another concern: a sizable fare increase.  The cost of the 60-trip ticket rose from $9.46 to $11.40.

The Great Neck Rail Road Station ~ LIRR photo, June 9, 1934.

Celebrating the opening of the new station on March 7, 1925, built by Ernest L. Smith "in the English style" at a cost of $50,000. Photo by Great Neck photographer Alexander Culet.

Railroad Avenue, now Station Plaza North, looking east from Middle Neck Road. The white building at the end of the street is the Great Neck Glass Works. The Wychwood Apartment Building is on the right. LIRR photo, June 9, 1934.

The Stone Yard ~ LIRR photo, May 5, 1934.

The Lumber Yard ~ LIRR Photo, May 5, 1934.

This photo of the auto and pedestrian traffic over the LIRR tracks on Middle Neck Road shows why a different crossing solution was needed.

Looking north on Middle Neck Road toward the Grace Building. LIRR photo May 5, 1934.

A view toward Middle Neck Road from the Wychwood Apartment Building, taken by the Takagi Studio at 3 Grace Avenue. Photo May 22, 1930.

Most of the photos shown above were purchased for the Great Neck Library Local History Collection with money from the Risha Rosner Fund and the Frank Lesser Fund. To help fund the purchase of future Local History materials through the Risha Rosner Fund, contact the Reference Department of the Great Neck Library at 516-466-8055, ext. 218, or


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