8. The Queensway

The Queensway

In 1877, the Long Island Rail Road opened a train line to the scenic Rockaway Beach. The line was successful for nearly a hundred years until the company that owned it went bankrupt in 1962. From that day on the rail line was left completely abandoned. Nature soon took over the structure and covered it with a layer of thick vines and weeds, making it a relic of its former self and obscuring the tracks from New Yorkers’ thoughts and sight.

In 2011, a group of activists developed a plan for the old rail line. Seeing the success of the High Line they decided to embrace the nature that had taken over the tracks and make it into the QueensWay, a park for joggers, bikers, and tourists. However, that particular initiative has stalled and for now it remains one of New York City’s abandoned places. Another competing group, the Queenslink has since been formed, seeking to reactivate it as a rail link (It should be noted that there have been several initiatives to study the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Branch by the MTA and the Port Authority, but none so far have come to fruition, but perhaps that may change with renewed interest in transit line reactivations like the BQX, now the Interborough Express).