4. The LIRR Whitestone Branch is one of New York City’s many abandoned rail lines

Whitestone Branch

The LIRR Whitestone Branch once connected Willets Point to Whitestone, running along Flushing Bay. The rail line was originally planned as part of the Flushing and North Side Railroad, though it later became a subsidiary of the Long Island City and Flushing Railroad. The branch opened in 1869 and was electrified in 1912, but just about a decade later, service started to decline. The line was abandoned in February 1932 after attempts to consolidate it with the New York City subway system, which were unsuccessful because of the cost of removing grade crossings.

Parts of the branch remained even after it was abandoned, including a small section leading to Corona Yard that was maintained up until the 1970s. There is even a portion east of the Mets-Willets Point station that remains today, though it is inaccessible. Additionally, a spur of the branch near the Flushing River was kept until 1983, when it was abandoned after going underwater; there has been no trace of the spur over the past few years. Though no tracks remain, there is a gate to the former Beechhurst Yacht Club that corresponds to the former northern terminus of the branch.