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Friday, 08 May 2009 17:09

 The Queensboro Bridge Trolley as Photographed by Sid Kaplan

You can almost hear the clang of the trolley bell when you look at the photos of the trolley cars on the Queensboro Bridge.

In 1957, in anticipation of the last run of the trolley service, then-19-year old photographer Sid Kaplan took pictures of the Queensboro trolley, its drivers, passengers, entrance kiosks and, of course, the Queensboro Bridge and its environs.

A selection of Kaplan’s photographs, which have never been exhibited, will be displayed at the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center Kiosk on Roosevelt Island at the Tram Plaza in a special exhibition that coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Queensboro Bridge.

Beginning in 1909, five trolley lines connected Queens to Manhattan, transporting residents from Astoria, Steinway, Corona, Flushing, College Point and Queens Boulevard across the Queensboro Bridge to Second Avenue at 59th Street.

The trolley lines quickly registered impressive growth in ridership, eventually leading to the extension of the subway lines to Queens. Over time, competition with the subway later reduced the ridership, and several lines were shut down. The last trolley service in New York City, the Bridge Local service, which traveled from Manhattan to a station over Welfare Island and finally to Queens Plaza, ended in 1957.

In addition to Kaplan’s photographs, memorabilia of the trolley days will be displayed, along with videos of trolleys playing their routes.

The exhibition is FREE and will run from Sunday, May 31 to Sunday, July 5. The Visitor Center is the only surviving and functioning kiosk of the five original kiosks. Its usual hours, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., will be extended to 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the week of May 31 to June 7, in connection with other anniversary festivities. The Opening Reception on May 31 will be from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, please contact Judith Berdy, President of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, at 212-688-4836.

DIRECTIONS: Take the Tram at 59th Street and Second Avenue or the F train to Roosevelt Island. The Kiosk is located adjacent to the Tram.

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