Woodhaven Trotting Course

Woodhaven Trotting Course

Historical FeatureFarm Animals

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Ten-lane, pedal to the metal Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens … once a country lane dominated by horses and carriages? It’s true. And, the evidence is still there in plain view. Undoubtedly Trotting Course Lane received its name in the 1800s when horses were the prime mode of transportation, although subway historian Joe Brennan has infomed me that Trotting Course Lane was probably so-called because it led to the Union Course, an important race course for trotting races, which was north of Atlantic Ave. between Trotting Course Lane and the “city line” of Brooklyn. In the mid-1930s, the city changed the name of the road from Trotting Course Lane to Woodhaven Boulevard, and its character changed dramatically with the rise of the automobile. Its path was straightened and it gained additional lanes until it became the near-freeway it is today, with ten busy lanes of traffic. But pieces of old Trotting Course Lane are still there. In 2012, there has been some talk about reactivating the route if a convention center and casino is built in Ozone Park. But take it to the bank — NIMBYism is one of the strongest forces in NYC and such a reactivation will never take place. But Trotting Course Lane will continue to be a reminder of the rural, bucolic nature of the Queens of 100 years ago.

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