6. Peter Chahales Park used to be a horsecar rest stop

Peter Chahales Park

Peter Chanhales Park, located a short walk off Grand Avenue, was a spot where horsecars would stop on their journeys through Maspeth’s streets before automobiles were invented. Horsecars became popular with the construction of the New York and Harlem Rail Road in 1832, and the first horsecars carried about 30 people per trip. What was then Brooklyn did not create a horse-drawn railway system until the 1850s, and in 1860, the Grand Street and Newtown Railroad laid down a double-track railroad.

For three cents a ride, passengers could board the Grand Street line, whose cars were painted bright yellow, to Calvary Cemetery. In 1870, the line introduced “owl services,” or all-night cars, for evening employees, though it only was offered for a year before being reintroduced in 1881. The Grand Street line was popular since it was more reliable and cheaper than the Long Island Rail Road, later becoming a feeder to the Manhattan Beach Rail Road. By the 1880s, horsecars were transporting nearly 8,000 people a day throughout Queens and Brooklyn. All cars stopped at Maspeth after the opening of the Maspeth Depot, though in 1888, most Brooklyn lines became part of the Brooklyn City Rail Road.