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The J Nassau Street Express and Z Nassau Street Express are two services of the New York City Subway. They are colored brown on the route sign (either on the front and/or side - depending on equipment used) and on station signs and the NYC Subway map, as it represents a service provided on the BMT Nassau Street Line in Manhattan. The J runs all the time, from Jamaica Center-Parsons Boulevard to Broad Street (except on weekends, including weekend late nights, when it is cut back two stops to Chambers Street). The Z is a rush hour-only skip-stop variant, running only in the peak direction. During weekdays, the services run express in the peak direction in western Brooklyn (and the M used to provide local service); at other times, the Z does not operate, and the J is fully local.
Rapper Jay-Z named himself after these lines, which run through his home neighborhood.
- The BMT Jamaica Line is the oldest rapid transit line running in New York City today, opening in 1883. 1904 is credited as the beginning of subway service, but this does not count wooden elevated train service, some of which has been incorporated into the subway, and which began almost two decades earlier, first run by little independent companies, which taken by bigger and bigger companies until there were only three left (Interborough Rapid Transit Company, Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation, and Independent Subway System, the latter of which was city owned. In 1940, the remaining two companies were taken over by the city.
- On June 25, 1888, service began from Driggs Avenue (on a long-gone section that continued on Broadway past Marcy Avenue to the ferry, before Williamsburg Bridge service began) to Van Siclen Street. Three weeks later, the line reached the ferry.
- In 1893, the line extended eastward to Cypress Hills.
- In 1903, some occasional service to 168th Street began, provided by a ramp at Cypress Hills that allowed the el cars to access streetcar tracks.
- On September 16, 1908, the line was extended over the Williamsburg Bridge to Essex Street (converted trolley terminal), and on the other end to Crescent Street.
- On August 4, 1913, Chambers Street opened. Canal Street became the terminal for rush hour local service.
- From 1915 to 1916, the BMT Jamaica Line was rebuilt and a third track was added for express service to Eastern Parkway.
- In 1917, the ferry terminal closed.
- On May 28 of that year, the line was extended to 111th Street.
- The following year, the line converted to steel-car (BMT standard) operation.
- On July 3 of that year, the elevated line was completed to 168th Street. Service ran from this station (which is where the BMT Jamaica Line ended until the eastern end of the line was torn down) to the other end at Chambers Street, making every stop except for peak-direction rush hour trains, which operated express from Eastern Parkway to the Williamsburg Bridge. From 17:00 to about 18:30, these (outbound) trains made no stops between Canal Street and Eastern Parkway. 14 trains provided local service when the 15 ran express (The BMT assigned numbers beginning in 1924).
- The BMT Nassau Street Line was completed on May 30, 1931, and 15 service was extended to Broad Street. The special evening trips were stopped; all peak direction rush hour and midday trains ran express from the bridge to Eastern Parkway.
- Starting on June 18, 1959, skip-stop service was implemented on the Jamaica Line during morning rush hours. 15 trains ran express west of Eastern Parkway and stopped at "A" stations east of Eastern Parkway; 14 trains ran local and stopped at "B" stations. The stations were designated as follows:
- AB 168th Street
- B 160th Street
- AB Sutphin Boulevard
- B Queens Boulevard
- B Metropolitan Avenue
- A 121st Street
- A 111th Street
- B 102nd Street
- A Woodhaven Boulevard
- A Forest Parkway
- AB Elderts Lane
- B Cypress Hills
- A Crescent Street
- B Norwood Avenue
- A Cleveland Street
- B Van Siclen Avenue
- B Alabama Avenue
- AB Eastern Parkway
- In 1960 the letters J and JJ were assigned to the express and local 15 trips, but it was several years before those letters appeared on trains. The 14 skip-stop service was assigned KK.
- When the Chrystie Street Connection opened on November 26, 1967, rush hour 15 service was relabeled as QJ, a through-routing with the BMT Brighton Line (Q) ending at Brighton Beach.
- JJ service was switched to the "B" stations during morning rush hours, running local west of Eastern Parkway. That label was also used for former 14 service to Rockaway Parkway on the BMT Canarsie Line.
- On December 11, 1988, the Archer Avenue Line opened, and J service was extended from 121st Street to Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer. At this point, the J/Z skip-stop service was introduced.
- On September 30, 1990, weekend service was cut back to Canal Street for construction.
- From May–September 1999, the Williamsburg Bridge was closed for reconstruction. J service ran between Jamaica Center–Parsons/Archer and Myrtle Avenue, running local at all times except rush hours. Skip-stop service ran between Jamaica Center and Broadway Junction (which was the last stop for the Z) in both directions.
- After September 11, 2001, R service was suspended. J service was extended to Bay Ridge–95th Street, Brooklyn to replace it, running local along its entire route since the Z and the skip-stop service was suspended. During this time, it became the longest local train in the entire system. During late nights, it ran to Broad Street only, with a shuttle providing service between 36th Street and 95th Street. Service returned to normal on October 28, 2001.
- In May 2014, all trains began stopping at Alabama Avenue, presumably for the convenience of transit employees who work at the nearby East New York Yard and East New York Bus Depot.
- On June 14, 2015, weekend J service was extended back to Broad Street; this was proposed in July 2014 to improve weekend service between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.Between 1990 and 2015, when weekend service terminated at Canal or Chambers Streets, Broad Street and the J/Z platforms at Fulton Street were two of the four New York City Subway stations that lacked full-time service (the remaining two being the platforms for the IRT 42nd Street Shuttle).
Broadway (Brooklyn) Line services over the years
|Morning rush-hour local||Morning rush-hour express||Afternoon rush-hour local||Afternoon rush-hour express||Other times local||Variant/short line runs|
|1959-67||14 168th Street - Canal Street, "B" stops inbound||15 168th Street - Broad Street, "A" stops inbound||14 Crescent Street - Canal Street||15 168th Street - Broad Street||15 168th Street - Broad Street||14 Atlantic Avenue (Canarsie Line) or Rockaway Parkway (Canarsie Line) - Canal Street, afternoon rush hours only|
|1967-68||JJ 168th Street - Canal Street, "B" stops inbound|
RJ 168th Street - 95th Street (Brooklyn), inbound only
|QJ 168th Street - Brighton Beach, "A" stops inbound||JJ Crescent Street - Canal Street|
RJ 168th Street - 95th Street (Brooklyn), outbound only
|QJ 168th Street - Brighton Beach||JJ 168th Street - Broad Street|
QJ 168th Street - Brighton Beach, middays and early evenings
|JJ Atlantic Avenue (Canarsie Line) - Canal Street, afternoon rush hours only|
|1968-1973||KK 168th Street - 57th Street (Manhattan), "B" stops inbound||QJ 168th Street - Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, "A" stops inbound||KK 168th Street - 57th Street (Manhattan), "B" stops outbound||QJ 168th Street - Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, "A" stops outbound||QJ 168th Street - Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, goes only to/from Broad Street late evenings, late nights and weekends|
|1973-1976||K Eastern Parkway - 57th Street (Manhattan)||J 168th Street - Broad Street, two inbound patterns, one for "A" stops and one for "B" stops||K Eastern Parkway - 57th Street (Manhattan)||J 168th Street - Broad Street, all stops||J 168th Street - Broad Street|
The K was discontinued in 1976, and all J trains made all stops from then until the 1988 opening of the BMT Archer Avenue Line.
The following table shows the lines used by Route J and Route Z, with shaded boxes indicating the route at the specified times:
|BMT Archer Avenue Line||Jamaica Center||Sutphin Boulevard||all|
|BMT Jamaica Line||121st Street||Myrtle Avenue||local (all)|
|Myrtle Avenue||Marcy Avenue||local|
|BMT Nassau Street Line||Essex Street||Chambers Street|
|Fulton Street||Broad Street|
|Station service legend|
|Stops all times|
|Stops all times except late nights|
|Stops late nights only|
|Stops weekdays only|
|Stops all times except rush hours in the peak direction|
|Stops rush hours in the peak direction only|
- Rush hours in the peak direction, J and Z trains alternate and provide skip-stop service between Sutphin Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue; all other times, J trains make all stops.
- Rush hours, mid-days and evenings, J trains operate Myrtle and Marcy Avenues; to Manhattan, a.m. rush hours and mid-days; to Queens, p.m. rush hours and evenings.