Cortelyou Road: 1912 and 2013


Cortelyou Road, 1912, via ebay

Cortelyou Road from Marlborough

What a difference 101 years make. The top photo is the view of Cortleyou Road, looking east from Marlborough Road, in 1912, currently available for bidding on eBay. Ample parking for your horse and carriage, trolley tracks visible, and you can see the same cast iron barricades in front of the subway cut (installed in 1907) that still stand today.

The lower photo is same view as it is now. Cement now lines the outside of those cast iron barricades, and “historic” streetlights now line the road. The “realty exchange” building that once stood on the other side of the tracks has been replaced by a bigger structure, which is now a Duane Reade.

The subway station house looks much the same – built in 1907, it’s been renovated since, but retains the same peaked roof. Looks like the building with Greenfield Pharmacy is the same, as well. A wood framed house in the distance on the right, at what seems to be about E 17th St, has since been replaced by a large apartment building.

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  1. It’s interesting (to me anyway) that the trolley tracks stuck up so much — I’m used to seeing on-road tracks being embedded into the roadway. This would have been a concern for the wagons. You’d have to make sure your wagon wheels were at a sharp angle to the tracks if you wanted to cross them… otherwise you’d just slide along them.

    Would the road surface have been asphalt or just compacted dirt/gravel? Can’t really tell in the photo…

  2. I too was interested in the trolley tracks, Stratford. According to, Route 23 was trolley service on Cortelyou Road until July 23, 1930when it was “replaced by combined trackless trolley and gas bus operation on an experimental basis. The route ran along Cortelyou Road between Flatbush and Coney Island Avenues.. . October 31, 1956: Trolley coaches replaced with gas buses.” There’s an undated pic #3116 of the electric ‘trolley-bus” sitting in front of what’s now the CVS at Flatbush Ave and Cortelyou Rd. Some difference on that corner!

    2010: Bus route B23 discontinued by the MTA in order to ‘close’ a budget gap.

    You may also enjoy the memorable “Flood at Stratford Rd. gelatin print in the BPL collection.

  3. I love it. I’m certain that the road wasn’t paved with asphalt 100 years ago. Interestingly Route 23 was replaced by a bus B23 which the TA stopped running a couple of years ago despite community protest.

  4. Love this shot, and the fact that the Greenfield’s bldg. is clearly the same as of old. Just a note about buying vintage Brooklyn photos on E-bay: Most are reproductions of original prints. Most will say so, but it’s something to determine before you bid or buy.

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