Happy 25th anniversary NYC Transit Archer Avenue Subway Extension opening

Dec. 21, 2023
On Dec. 22, 1988, the Archer Avenue subway line opened.

Recent installation of new subway station turnstiles at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City (NYC) Transit Queens Sutphin Boulevard Archer Avenue subway station to help deter fare evasion comes on the eve of a more important event. On Dec. 22, 1988, the Archer Avenue subway line opened.  The price tag was $440 million and was paid for by a grant from the Urban Mass Transportation Administration, which is known now as the Federal Transit Administration.

One benefit of the Archer Avenue subway three-stop extension was a direct connection from the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Station to the NYC Transit subway system and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport.  When service disruptions take place on the LIRR between Jamaica, Queens and New York Penn Station - now Grand Central Madison - LIRR riders have an alternative route for traveling to and from Jamaica via the NYC Transit E subway line. Eight of nine LIRR branches connect at Jamaica, as only the north shore Port Washington branch does not. It also provides a local  direct connection for Kennedy Airport via the AirTrain.  

The Queens Archer Avenue subway extension also permitted removal of the Jamaica Avenue El between 168th St. and 121st St. Stations in two sections. First, in September 1977, the 168th St., 160th St. and Sutphin Boulevard stations were closed. This was followed in April 1985 by closure of the Metropolitan Avenue and Queens Boulevard stations.  

This opened up these sections of Jamaica Avenue to sunlight and new economic development, including the Introduction of the NYC Transit Z subway line on the Jamaica Avenue El, supported introduction of skip stop rush hour service.  This results in both the J and Z line providing a faster trip between Jamaica and Richmond Hill, Cypress Hills, Broadway Junction, East New York. Bushwick, Williamsburg and downtown Manhattan including the Lower East Side, Chinatown, City Hall and the Financial District.

About the Author

Larry Penner

Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for New Jersey Transit, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYC Transit bus, subway and Staten Island Railway, Long Island and Metro North railroads, MTA Bus, NYCDOT Staten Island Ferry along with 30 other transit agencies in New York and New Jersey.