QUEENS — Fourteen years after Briarwood residents began a push to have "Van Wyck" removed from their subway station to give more prominence to the neighborhood, the MTA officially changed the name of the "Briarwood-Van Wyck Boulevard" stop.
“We are very thankful,” said Seymour Schwartz, president of the Briarwood Community Association, which has been fighting for the new name.
The station, which is located near the Van Wyck Expressway, was named after Van Wyck Boulevard, a road that has not existed since the 1950s, locals said.
“We felt that it was ridiculous to carry the name of a street that did not exist,” Schwartz said Monday.
The stop, which serves the F line as well as the E line on nights and weekends, was also often confused with the Jamaica-Van Wyck station, the next stop on the E line, Schwartz said.
As first reported by the Queens Chronicle, the MTA paid $12,000 to install new signage at the entrances to the station and on the columns inside the station, the agency said.
The announcements inside the trains will also be changed and the new name will be reflected in the next printing of the New York City subway map later this year, according to Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA.
There are no plans, however, to change the “Van Wyck Blvd.” tiling on the walls inside the station, Ortiz said.
Several signs guiding staphangers towards the exits still point towards “Van Wyck Boulevard.” Those signs will also remain unchanged, according to Ortiz.
Schwartz said the organization fought for the change for more than a decade, as Briarwood, located between Kew Gardens and Jamaica, developed its own identity.
“We are a distinct neighborhood,” said Schwartz. “It became very important to identify us as a community.”
The station — which has been recently renovated as part of the $147 million Kew Gardens Interchange project — was initially called “Van Wyck Boulevard" only. In 1998, the MTA agreed to change the name to "Briarwood-Van Wyck Boulevard."
But Schwartz said that as the neighborhood has been constantly growing, receiving its own library branch and post office over the years, his organization worked to get the name changed entirely.
The group also had the support of elected officials.