Original Write up: April 2, 2001
Honeywell Avenue is one long bridge which spans 2 rail yards and the LIRR/Amtrak mainline funnel of tracks from LI and Boston into Manhattan. This generally unnoticed bridge has been abandoned since 1979, and only recently (i.e. – today 4/2/2001) begun to be rebuilt.
The bridge pretty much comes from nowhere (an industrialized area of L.I.C. Right near the 39th av. N station, where no one ever bothers to get off the train), and goes nowhere (an equally industrialized area of Sunnyside). With so little traffic, there had been little incentive to repair the bridge. L.I.C. and NYC on a whole have done quite well these last 10 years financially, thus reopening this would help ease traffic on Queens Blvd and Steinway Street.
Honeywell Avenue starts on the L.I.C. side climbing between 2 large canyon-like warehouses on a cobblestone paved street from an intersection off Northern blvd., opening up over the old Long Island Rail Road ‘A’ freight yard. This section of bridge is actually still in use for a short span as an access road to Amtrak’s Sunnyside facility, which lays immediately next door. I recall being brought here as a kid to watch the freight train come in. Back then you’d find 4 big diesels dragging 100+ freight cars into the yard and sorting them out. These days, so little freight arrives by train on LI that the only stuff you’ll find in the yard are junk cars waiting for the scrapper. As such, NYC & LI relies heavily on trucks from NJ to supply businesses – which only further damages roads and pollutes the air.
High metal walls begin at the Amtrak section and continue all the way to the Sunnyside end with only a few breaks where one can take in the fab view of NYC.
Getting onto this bridge is easy. You just walk right in. There is a fence across the roadway, though it has huge holes torn into it. Before this fence went up, the bridge would see maybe 10-15 pedestrians cross it per day during ‘rush hour’.
For the most part, the bridge is uneventful, containing just a scant amount of trash at either end and not much in the middle (with the exception of large steel girders which protrude into the roadway and reinforce it from collapse). This bridge never had a superstructure – it’s just straight viaduct from one end to the other. The other bridges which span the rail yards – Thompson Ave, Queens Blvd, and 39th Street – were all build in the same fasion. 2 features that make it a bit more interesting are the doorway which leads you down steps to the LIRR/Amtrak mainline where you can sit and watch the world go by from right in between the tracks of Harold Junction, and a tiny ‘tunnel’ that is built into the structure to carry pipes. It’s a 3 foot by 4 foot space that is pitch black. It would have been an uncomfortable squeeze to go through it, and it only had one access point – on the sidewalk of on the southwestern end of the bridge.
While not particularly special structurally, it’s a bit nostalgic to me… Growing up in the area, I came up here often. It was one of those awesome abandoned NYC spots where no hobos or sketchy people were living. You could go sit on the steps down to the tracks and watch the world go by…
This bridge was completely rebuilt during the early 2000s. The entire structure was removed in segments and replaced, progressing across the span. Today it is a 4 lane bridge quite similar to the original. It still doesn’t see much auto traffic, but that seems to be changing as the previously quiet industrial areas on either side of it have become more residential. On the north, LIC side of the bridge, there are now more hotels in the area than there are industrial spaces.