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In this Gravesend map from the same year, 86th Street is laid out through marshes — much of southeast Brooklyn is landfilled, including the connection of Coney Island to the rest of Long Island.On this map, the Bath and Coney Island Railroad was placed on an elevated line by 1920, while the original square Gravesend street layout is still intact, as is Kings Highway at the top of the map.New Utrecht’s first settler was Cornelius Van Werckhaven, who arrived in New Amsterdam from Utrecht, Netherlands, in 1652.He purchased what wouldbecome Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and Bay Ridge from Dutch governor Wilhelm Kieft and later, from the Nyack Indians.I’ll present the findings here in reverse order, from northwest to southeast.I’m not sure when 86th Street was built out to its ultimate length.It was certainly laid out on maps by 1873, when this Beers atlas plate of the town of New Utrecht was drawn. The center of this map, just to the left of the “86th” is where the elevated D train turns off New Utrecht Avenue onto 86th in the present day.Other than 86th, the other roads on this map have disappeared as the overall grid was constructed, which began to take place after 1900.

The 86th Street BMT subway at 4th Avenue was my home subway, and I rode the B16 (Fort Hamilton Parkway), B63 (5th Avenue) B64 (86th Street) and B37 (3rd Avenue) buses with regularity.I had just gotten back from a mission to Bayswater, Queens, an outpost on the Far Rockaway peninsula, and will have to return again as the ride was cut short due to scheduling necessities on the part of the friend who drove us there.After lunch at Spumoni Gardens (where I had never before been) he went to his home, and I walked 86th from about Avenue V to the 18th Avenue station on the D.Lenny’s Pizza, at 1969 86th, is indelibly imprinted as the pizzeria where John Travolta’s Tony Manero buys two slices and eats them while strutting down 86th Street at the opening scene of 1977’s .In the 1970s, I was amazed at how quickly the disco craze arose, and has never really left.18th Avenue, which crosses 86th Street just south of the 18th Avenue station on the West End el line, was one of the first roads laid out through the old town of New Utrecht.

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