Call it the Brooklyn trolley
Returning trolley service to Brooklyn has been a dream
agonizingly out of reach for one streetcar enthusiast for two
Ironically, it now appears that after all these years, it
may be his former prot%E9g%E9 who gets the job done.
Bob Diamond founded the Brooklyn Historical Rail
Association in 1982, and has been toiling single-mindedly
since then to get the stately streetcars rolling again.
His vision of a trolley line stretching from Red Hook to
downtown Brooklyn nearly came to life - tracks were laid and
old cars purchased - until the city's Department of
Transportation halted funding last year.
Last month, however, the idea was revived as a means for
people to traverse the planned Brooklyn Bridge Park, a $150
million, 70-acre patch of green along the Brooklyn waterfront.
But instead of Diamond's brainchild, the proposal now being
examined by the park's development corporation is from Arthur
Melnick, 58, a former spokesman for Diamond's organization.
Diamond, 44, has since made a flurry of unflattering
allegations about his rival, the worst of which has Melnick
robbing Diamond's life's work after the volunteer quit this
"I caught Melnick stealing everything off our computer hard
drives," Diamond told the Daily News. "He took 22 years of
engineering documents, maps and blueprints for a Brooklyn
Melnick, who founded the Brooklyn City Street Car Corp.
last February after Diamond's plan collapsed, called his
former colleague's allegations "totally absurd."
"We're trying to ignore his nonsense and rantings," Melnick
said. "We don't want it to look like it's degenerated into a
brawl because we're trying to pull off something very
Diamond also said that Melnick told Brooklyn Navy Yard
Development president Eric Deutsch that Diamond had died - so
that Melnick could grab several streetcars that were in
storage at a location on the Brooklyn waterfront, he said.
When called to confirm Diamond's claim, however, Deutsch
strongly denied he'd ever been told Diamond was dead.
"No! Nobody ever called saying he was dead," Deutsch said
between fits of laughter.
Because Diamond has failed to make payments on his 17
prized streetcars - one dates to 1897 - his ownership of the
trolleys is now in question. Last week, he was served with
papers demanding he remove five trolley cars from a Red Hook
pier by the end of this month.
Nevertheless, Diamond still holds out hope that the
trolleys will be used in the future on a rail line servicing
Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Diamond said the cars could be leased or sold to the park
development corporation. "We're very eager to work with them
in any capacity," he said.
Melnick called Diamond's situation "sad," but vowed to roll
ahead with efforts to bring the clanking cars to Brooklyn.