7. The Train Connection at Hunters Point – when trains bowed to ferries, and Hunters Point was Queens’ great commuter hub

7_Hunters Point Ferry-Long Island City-Queens-Map-NYCLIRR hub and ferry terminal at Borden Avenue, 1891. Map via Wikimedia Commons.

Historically, New York City ferries were divided into 3 camps: trans-Hudson services that were owned by New Jersey railroads, East River services that were run by ferry companies, and the stand-alone Staten Island ferry. There was, however, a ferry in Western Queens that was operated by the Long Island Rail Road. In the 1850s, a group of enterprising landowners decided to develop Hunters Point.

In 1859, a new ferry service was established to serve this community. The ferry ran from Borden Avenue to East 35th Street – essentially the route that carries Hunters Point ferry commuters to Midtown today. For the next 50 years, until the Pennsylvania Railroad built a tunnel between Sunnyside Yards and Penn Station, the LIRR relied on the Hunters Point ferry to transport its customers to Manhattan. The ferry was discontinued in 1925.