The South Brooklyn Home Talk, March 3, 1909 – Will not endanger building of Fourth Avenue subway

The men who have been making the hardest fight for the Fourth avenue subway are not in the least alarmed over the action taken by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment on Friday, when a resolution was passed to go ahead with the pavement of the Flatbush avenue extension, regardless of the subway.

The alarmists have cried out that this action means the “death knell of the Fourth avenue subway,” but those who have been battling for this much-needed public improvement for years declare that this cry is only another case of the wish being father to the thought. They point out that it is preposterous to suppose that, even if the Flatbush avenue extension were to be paved at a cost of $124,000 and it became necessary to actually rip up and destroy this pavement, that this amount of money would be permitted to stand in the way of the construction of a subway representing millions of dollars, and affording relief to the biggest and best residential section in all Brooklyn.

Subway construction on Fourth Avenue between 35th and 36th streets, 1910. Subway Construction Photographs, Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History

John E. Sullivan, the well-known builder and real estate dealer, than whom there is no greater authority on the Fourth avenue subway in this city, said that the suggestion that a great project like this subway could be killed by a resolution authorizing the paving of a few blocks of street was too preposterous to warrant a second thought. Mr. Sullivan pointed out that the subway in lower New York was constructed without the disturbance of a single yard of asphalt on the surface of the streets under which it passed. 

As president of the Fourth Avenue Subway League, Mr. Sullivan said that the outlook for the ultimate construction of the tunnel was never brighter than it is today. By the Comptroller’s own statement, Mr. Sullivan said, the city has an abundance of money to build the tunnel, and even if General Tracy’s report on the debt limit should be unfavorable, that would only relate to the debt limit at the time the injunction was granted, and would have nothing to do with the condition of the city’s finances at the present time.

Once this report on the debt limit is made, whether it is favorable or unfavorable, the legal impediment to action by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment will be removed, and Mr. Sullivan expressed the opinion that there would then be no longer even the shadow of an excuse for not making a beginning on the Fourth avenue subway. 


(Special thanks to Brooklyn Public Library)

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