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Change Could Be Next Stop for 'Briarwood/Van Wyck' Subway Station Name

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | March 17, 2014 9:52am
 The name of the Briarwood-Van Wyck Boulevard station may soon be changed.
Briarwood Subway Station
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QUEENS — Briarwood residents and local elected officials are pushing to have the name "Van Wyck" dumped from their subway station in order to boost the neighborhood's profile and eliminate confusion with a nearby stop.

If legislation introduced last week is approved, the metal placards bearing the name "Briarwood/Van Wyck Blvd" would be changed to eliminate the second half of the name — a road that has not existed in decades.

The station, which is near the Van Wyck Expressway, serves the F line, as well as the E line on nights and weekends, and is also often confused with the Jamaica/Van Wyck station, the following stop on the E.

Seymour Schwartz, president of the Briarwood Community Association, said that the push is part of an ongoing effort to give Briarwood its own identity.

Its ZIP code places Briarwood in Jamaica, but residents feel that the tree-lined neighborhood with numerous co-ops and family houses has its own unique character.

It’s the second time the community has requested the name change.

The station — currently being renovated as part of the $147 million Kew Gardens Interchange project — was initially called “Van Wyck Boulevard,” a street which, according to information provided by the MTA, “hasn’t existed in about 70 years.”

In 1998, the MTA agreed to change the name to "Briarwood/Van Wyck Blvd."

But Schwartz said that with the community constantly growing, his organization has “been working to get the name changed completely” for the past six years.

His group has the support of elected officials.

Last year, Assemblyman David Weprin introduced a bill to change the name. Last week state Sen. Tony Avella introduced a similar bill.

But not everyone in the neighborhood thinks the change is necessary. “I think people are used to calling it Briarwood/Van Wyck,” said Aida Vernon, president of the Briarwood Action Network.

Marisa Baldeo, a spokeswoman for the MTA, said that community representatives approached New York City Transit requesting the change and that the final decision still requires the MTA board’s approval.

But if approved, she said, all metal signs in the station will be changed to "Briarwood," including the signs outside the station on the staircase and the signs on columns in the station.

“However, the name on the mosaic tiled wall will remain the same at this time due to the cost,” she said.

It was not clear when the MTA board may decide whether to change the station's name, Baldeo said.