- Redefine your topic as narrowly as possible.
My topic is transportation over time to the area around the Farragut Houses, specifically Vinegar Hill and downtown Brooklyn. My specific focus is rapid transit.
- What have you learned about the topic? Be sure you can document & cite sources.
I’ve learned that even before the Farragut Houses were opened in 1952, the F train served the area with a stop at York Street, the same stop as it is today. The station opened on April 9, 1936. Another nearby station, High Street, opened in 1933. The R train to Lawrence Street, now part of J Street–Metrotech, opened as part of the BMT line on March 11, 1920. The IRT first came to Borough Hall, Brooklyn, in 1908. The subway system opened in Manhattan on October 27, 1904. Before the underground trains were built, the city, including downtown Brooklyn, was served by elevated lines. The first el opened for business on July 1, 1868, going from Dey Street to 29th Street in Manhattan on a single track. The first el came to downtown Brooklyn in 1885. I can document sources for all this information.
- What do you want to say about the topic?
I want to demonstrate the importance of transportation in urban development. A vibrant rapid transit network is the lifeblood of a city. New York City, including downtown Brooklyn, developed around the subway system. But how effective is transportation to the area around Farragut Houses today? Once the city tore down the old el, did transportation become better or worse? How well does the current rapid transit system serve the residents of the Farragut Houses? How well does it serve the wealthier residents in the surrounding neighborhoods?
- What do you still need to do/know/research to accomplish #3?
- I still need to gather old transportation maps showing every year from the late 1880s until today.
- I still need to collect more newspaper and/or magazine articles about rapid transit in New York City from the days of the el through the building of the subway through today.
- I still to do more research on the situation today to understand how well the current subway system serves the Farragut Houses neighborhood.
- What is your game plan?
- I plan to return to both the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library to continue looking at maps and newspaper clippings.
- I plan to do a lot more online research, because much of this material is available in digital formats.
- In addition to the newspapers available in the BPL “morgue,” I will research New York City newspaper archives, particularly The New York Times, looking for material about public transportation.
- I will also search the archives looking for material about urban development and about the effect of transportation availability on urban neighborhoods.
- I will look for books about urban development and transportation.