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People check their phones, stare out the window at the darkening skyline, and hush their children, but they don’t buy any candy. Of course, I knew New York was a multicultural city, but the slideshow in my head was projected from the television set, and according to the TV, the main course in New York is white, to be served with the occasional exotic side dish (yummy!) of person of colour as temporary love-interest or person of colour as wise-cracking janitor! As the we get closer to Manhattan, the woman with the crucifix necklace, the prayer book, and no health coverage leaves the train, and more and more white people board. I get off at 34th Street Station, go up some stairs, (or was it down some stairs?), push my way through crowds of people trying to find my exit and instead end up in some sort of underground cafeteria.
Malaika likes books, drinking tea, long conversations, dinner parties, making funny faces, bike rides, and dogs.
In 1968, major changes came to the 6th Avenue line as part of the so-called Chrystie Street Connection project. Essentially, the Manhattan Bridge had been built with two pairs of tracks, the "north side" and the "south side". So it was decided to rearrange the Manhattan connections; the south side of the bridge would be connected to the BMT Broadway Subway at Canal Street and the connection to the Nassau Street line would be severed. To accommodate all of this new traffic to be flowing along 6th Avenue, the express tracks between West 4th Street and 34th Street were constructed.
The 63rd Street tunnel was designed to connect the IND 6th Avenue and BMT Broadway lines at their northern ends to the 2nd Avenue subway and further into Queens. Despite there being a connection from 63rd Street also to the BMT Broadway subway, no regular service from the Broadway line has been operated. The 63rd Street tunnel was designed in conjunction with the 2nd Avenue Subway and both were expected to be built simultaneously beginning in the 1970s.
The 63rd Street Tunnel is also playing a large role in the LIRR's grand plan to bring trains into Grand Central Terminal. Extensive rehabilitation of eight miles of the existing 63rd Street tunnels, including new signals and track crossovers. Extending both levels of the 63rd Street tunnel 1300 feet and joining the upper level to existing subway lines by means of new ramps; the lower level, belonging to the LIRR, was extended as MTA proceeded with plans to connect this tunnel to the LIRR's Main Line and Port Washington Branch.
Widening the main Queens Boulevard corridor line between 33rd and 36th Street to six tracks, two of which being ramps entering below the main line and rising to switches west of 36th Street station, allowing trains to access either local or express tracks.
Constructing diversion tunnels to allow existing subway services to continue operating without interruption. Tunneling 20 feet under the Northern Boulevard subway, and underpinning, the existing Northern Boulevard roadway, buildings and express tracks.
Providing up to 90-foot wide temporary roadway surfaces to allow automobiles to operate unimpeded. Integration of two four-story, 8,000 square foot ventilation buildings located at 29th Street and 39th Street. The 63rd Street line continues east under 41 Avenue, crossing 20 feet under the Northern Boulevard subway; each track turns northeasterly and climbs a ramp between newly designated local and express tracks west of 36th Street station. MTA's service plan was designed to increase total train capacity between Queens and Manhattan by about 20%.
This station was constructed as part of the larger "Chrystie Street" connection project, since a new terminal at the end of the 6th Avenue line would be required for the new services.
57th Street served as a terminal station until 1988, when the 63rd Street line was connected to it at the north. The station has a massive mezzanine which connects to many Rockefeller Center buildings outside the fare control.
The long passageway to Fifth Avenue (and the #7 train) features brown glazed brick with various color sections. Discontiguous mezzanines exist at both the north and south end of this complex, providing a transfer at both ends.
There are numerous exits and passageways including a direct entrance to the shopping center that has variously been known as Gimbels, A&S Plaza, and Manhattan Mall. The PATH and subway stations share the same entrance from the street, with the PATH platforms being accessed via an underpass below the subway platform and track.
A common entrance to the subway and PATH, with separate fare controls, is at the 14th street end. Transfer to the BMT Canarsie line is made from the south end of the IND 6th Avenue platforms. Two track levels, four tracks and two island platforms on each level, with a full-length mezzanine between the two levels (not above). The station, which doesn't actually have an exit to 4th St., is probably so-called to differentiate it from the planned IND second system South 4th St.
The mezzanine now houses a large NYCT office complex at the north end; closed stairways from the lower level platforms reveal the "shortened" mezzanine above. The tile adornment is standard IND; both track levels have dark green tile stripes with an even darker green border.
This new southern extension of Sixth Avenue is extra wide to fit the cunning interchange between the 6th and 8th Avenue lines. There has long been a transfer to the downtown local train of the IRT East Side's Bleecker Street station, via a glass-walled passageway. The four tracks at 2nd Avenue were originally, but not now, the same four as at Broadway-Lafayette.
Rumor has it that the walls along the platforms are designed to be removed, for conversion into two island platforms; space for two tracks which would have been used by The Second Avenue Subway is said to be behind the walls.
After Grand Street, the trains from the IND 6th Avenue Subway cross the Manhattan Bridge and arrive at DeKalb Avenue station. Welcome to A Prairie Homo Does New York, a new weekly column detailing her (hopefully) exciting adventures.
Undeterred when we reach the next stop, Damien adjusts his baseball cap and hops off the train and onto the one behind us. Minus Oscar the Grouch whose ethnicity is unknown, and Big Bird whose ethnicity is bird, most of the characters in my New York slideshow were white.
And so, when I arrived in New York, the slide show in my brain didn’t match up with reality. That’s what struck me most when I arrived, tired and overwhelmed, my hair blown-up by the humidity like a poodle ready for a snooty dog show: green! trees! Soon the train will reach Wall Street station and there’ll be white men in suits holding briefcases.
Originally from Edmonton, she now lives in Montreal where she edits, runs, and writes about the Alberta Tar Sands for The Media Co-op. I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what the underground cafeteria that smells like junk food and sweaty bodies near 34th street was…then I realized you must have been in Penn Station.
For a kid from Jersey who loves the city, Penn Station is normal – I love the fresh perspective and clarity that someone who is unfamiliar brings to a situation.
Ground was broken on March 12, 1936, and service between 47th-50th Streets and West 4th Street (lower level) began December 15, 1940. This relatively short stretch of new subway from the Manhattan Bridge to the Houston Street subway east of Broadway-Lafayette station had far-reaching implications to service throughout the system, but most directly to the IND 6th Avenue and to the BMT lines that crossed the Manhattan Bridge. When constructed, the Manhattan end of the north side tracks fed the BMT Broadway Subway via Canal Street, and the south side tracks fed the BMT Nassau Loop north of Chambers Street.


An extension northward past 47th-50th Street under 6th Avenue was also constructed, and a station situated at 57th Street to terminate some of these new services. There were grandiose plans to construct a new Queens Super-Express line for the tunnel traffic, but fiscal tightening had the tunnel instead connected into the IND Queens Boulevard Line just southwest of 36th Street in Queens. There have been some instances of construction projects related to the Queens Boulevard junction requiring shuttle operation servicing the tunnel's stations from the Broadway line, terminating at 34th St. As a result, the 63rd Street Tunnel and the 6th Avenue line is intricately interwoven with the plans for the 2nd Avenue subway. The 63rd Street tunnel junction will allow 2nd Avenue and 6th Avenue trains to head to Queens Boulevard, and Broadway trains to head north along 2nd Avenue. Behind the platform wall on each level is a second track from the Broadway line intended for future connection to the 2nd Avenue line.
At Grand Street, there may or may not have been provision made for two additional tracks along the outside of Grand Street Station to serve as 2nd Avenue Subway. When this first extension, to 2nd Av and 96th street, is completed, the Q-Broadway Express will be extended from its current terminal at 57th St and 7th Av, across 63rd Street to a new transfer point with the F train at Lexington and 63rd, and thence to the new terminal. As built, the 63rd Street Tunnel consists of two levels, the upper level serving the subway lines as described above, and an as-yet-unused lower level designed for future LIRR use. Parsons-Brinkerhoff began design of the 63rd Street Connector in 1992; construction finally began in July 1994 after the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) concluded a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the MTA. The Connector's work was performed mostly outside of business hours and on weekends, over seven years, in order not to disrupt existing subway service. It created an additional weekday local train, the V, to replace the F train in the 53rd Street tunnel, and shifted the F train permanently to the 63rd Street tunnel. There is a low crossover at the eastern end of the platform which gives us a view of the trains.
Provision for the extension from 47th-50th Street to 57th Street was built into the 53rd Street junctions during the original construction of those segments of the line. The Broadway and 6th Avenue subways cross in an "X" pattern following their respective streets, with the midpoint of the "X" at about 32nd Street.
At the north end there is a single mezzanine with stairs and elevators to the Broadway platforms on the west and the 6th Avenue platforms on the east.
Another unusual and complex station, 14th Street on the 6th Avenue line ties together the pre-existing PATH subway (1908) and the BMT Canarsie line (1924) running crosstown on 14th Street. Stairways from each platform lead 28 steps down to an intermediate mezzanine, then down to the Canarsie Line's island platform. Since the fare control areas all lead directly to the upper level (8th Avenue) platforms, passengers for 6th Avenue trains walk a short distance along the upper platforms to the stairs down to the mezzanine, and thence to the lower level platforms. Rumor has it that there used to be direct exits to the street from this middle level mezzanine.
In 2012, a transfer opened to the uptown local platform, along with new stairway, escalators, and elevators. South exit is up 18 steps, a bend in the passageway then 14 more steps and a ramp to the fare control.
When it opened in 1967 only a few riders got on or off here; the modest entrances were in keeping with this light traffic. South of the station where the tracks curve onto Manhattan Bridge are the original trackways from the BMT Broadway station at Canal Street.
There are blocks that look like they come straight out of the Sesame Street Mega Blocks set I had as a kid: colourful, painted brownstones side by side.
I go to New York every other year (trying to up it to every year!) and I always stay in Brooklyn. This track map will illustrate the Manhattan Bridge connections prior to the Chrystie Street work. Connections were also made allowing trains from Brooklyn on the Williamsburg bridge to access the 6th Avenue subway, providing a lot more potential for service to midtown.
The connection between the 63rd Street Tunnel and the IND Queens Boulevard subway line was completed in 2001. When the upper 2nd Avenue line is completed, its initial operation will involve an extension of a service from the Broadway line.
The lower level was built with bellmouths at either end (and in fact the Queens bellmouths were extended a short distance as part of the Queens Boulevard subway junction construction).
The MTA spent a grand total of $645 million on the project, with the FTA's Section 5309 New Start program supplying $306.1 million and the MTA the remainder. The F now operates as an express between 21 Street-Queensbridge and Roosevelt Boulevard stations, but can be easily diverted to the local track if needed.
Between the tracks there is a low curtain wall between the two tracks with alternating niches for transit workers. The 63rd Street cross-river tunnel was in the planning stages and construction on it would begin in the 1970s. The north end of the downtown platform ramps up, and is at a higher elevation than the uptown platform.
The 6th Avenue line, built later, passes underneath the Broadway line and the elevation of the tracks shows it; the 6th Avenue line tracks dip way down in the middle of its station, with the ends higher.
At the south end, the 6th Avenue and Broadway mezzanines are connected inside the fare-paid area by stairs. The renovations have improved all aspects of the station, although little of the original IND or BMT decor was kept.
First, the local tracks were weaved through the complex in between the PATH and BMT in the late 1930s; then the express tracks were built later, in the 1960s.
For a station this large it actually has relatively few and small exits to the street; this station was meant as a mass transfer point between the two trunk lines.
The center tracks at Broadway-Lafayette were connected to the two tracks of the Chrystie Street Connection coming north from the Grand Street Station and the Manhattan Bridge. There is an extra exit being planned to the street, no details available but a contract has been issued.
If I wanted to, I could probably manage a (small) jumping jack without slapping any commuters in the face, but I don’t want to put on a show.
You pass the most majestic-looking buildings full of sweeping vaults and intricate designs carved into cement, buildings that make you think of European opera houses. One or two even nod thoughtfully, and there are those who don’t even seem to be aware he exists. And the way the racial makeup changes gradually on the train is always a source of amusement for me. The four-track subway along Houston Street from West Fourth Street to 2nd Avenue, and the two tracks further to East Broadway, was completed earlier, with shuttle service from West 4th Street beginning in January 1936. It was apparent, due to the rising importance of the midtown parts of Manhattan, that the bridge's south side, feeding toward downtown Manhattan, was being underutilized. A new station was built along Chrystie Street at Grand Street, which opened November 28, 1967.
Service changes after the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center delayed the opening, and service subsequently began on December 16, 2001, resulting in the service patterns operating now. Phase 2 of the subway project will extend the Broadway-2nd Av service again to a transfer point with the Lexington Av IRT at 125 Street.


In the spring of 2006, MTA awarded a contract to extend the LIRR tunnel under Northern Blvd.
The G train was truncated to a new terminal at Court Square; in effect, the G represented passenger carrying capacity to Brooklyn which was redirected to Manhattan.
There is a lot of space along the sides of the tracks in certain places, and at the Manhattan side, the turnouts for The Second Avenue Subway connection are clearly visible. The tracks north of the station run on three levels to form the flying junction at 53rd Street connecting the IND Queens Boulevard line into the 6th and 8th Avenue trunks. Originally, a transferring passenger picked up a paper transfer when leaving the one station, then walked across the street, entered the other station, and dropped the ticket into a collection box. The mezzanines are also connected outside the fare-paid area as well, and it is this area that provides access to the PATH station. Again, the provision exists on the express level to add platforms if the need arises, but adding in the access to these platforms is going to be a serious engineering project! The first service on the lower level was a shuttle along Houston Street to 2nd Avenue, starting January, 1936, with through service along the 6th Avenue local tracks starting December 1940. The north exit leads to Madison Street and also has a ramp to East Broadway (outside the paid area).
The center of the station features round columns with the tile border and white matte finish brick. Today there are portions of the day when the platform is filled end to end with people pressed against the wall and toeing the platform edge. And next to them, tall grey or brown apartments, then brownstones, storefronts that could be out of the Wild West, a tunnel, train tracks, graffiti. The website Narratively has done some really interesting articles on the current gentrification trends if anyone finds that stuff as interesting as I do. The Rutgers Street tunnel and the York Street station on the Brooklyn side opened April 9, 1936. To compensate G riders for this loss of direct Queens-Brooklyn service, a free MetroCard transfer was created between the 7, G and the E and V trains at 23rd-Ely Av station, and a moving sidewalk was installed; to mitigate the impact on F riders who normally used the 53rd-Lexington station's free interchange, another free MetroCard transfer was created between the IND 63rd-Lexington Av station and the IRT 59th-Lexington Av station.
The station building is a large glass-enclosed space, giving us a view of the island and the tram which is to the south of the subway station.
Behind the platform wall on each level is a second track intended for future connection to the proposed Second Ave.
The south third of the mezzanine features high exit turnstiles and has some chained shut slam gate exits. To accommodate the track arrangement in the junction, the southbound platform has the positions of the "express" and "local" tracks reversed. This system, similar to the one at the BMT Franklin Avenue and IND Fulton Street transfer, was routinely abused. There was an exit to street level at 37th St., but no traces exist at street level of this exit. Underneath all of this at a much lower level are the Long Island Rail Road tunnels from Queens to Pennsylvania Station.
A long passageway from one end of the complex to another connects the PATH mezzanine at the south with the "shared" mezzanine at the north. The 6th Avenue station received new "34" monogram tablets installed along the trackside walls (these are not mosaics). Provision was left for the addition of side platforms along the express tracks if the need someday arises. There are numerous buildings with sides ripped out and bare; many have been cosmetically redone over the ages. The track in between the uptown local and express, now used by the connection from the Williamsburg Bridge was original construction, formerly used as a layup track. Dragados is procuring four TBM drives for this purpose The Grand Central Terminal portion would be new track construction on the lower level of the terminal, and would not tie in to the existing Metro-North trackage (incompatibility of third-rail types will probably prevent this for the foreseeable future). Future plans call for additional physical improvements to the stations in the Court Square area, to improve passenger comfort and provide ADA access. Roosevelt Island station is very "Parisien" (a side-platform station with no center columns) and is similar to some of the deep tunnel IRT stations on the West Side.
One could easily leave the one station, spend the day in midtown Manhattan, and reenter by the other station on the same one fare. As the PATH predates the subway by about 32 years, its tracks are closer to the surface of 6th Avenue, with the subway tracks underneath.
This slicing through of the IND subway (and of the IRT West Side line as well) helped contribute to the triangular blocks so famous to the Village.
South of this station the line divides into two branches to Brooklyn: via tunnel to the IND lines and via bridge to the BMT lines.
Presently the stumps of the express tracks at 2nd Avenue are tied to the local tracks and has a crossover just west of 2nd Avenue.
There is a closed center exit which is very narrow and a long closed extreme southern exit. The LIRR service would provide relief to the Queens Boulevard and Flushing lines for passengers traveling from eastern Queens to Grand Central. The 63rd Street tunnel also provides MTA with additional flexibility in the event of either scheduled or unscheduled closure of either the 60th Street or 53rd Street tunnels. The south mezzanine (to First Ave.) has an intermediate level, with the fare control 8 steps up from this level, and is open full time. This makes 2nd Avenue into a terminal station for short runs and it is planned that one route from the upper section of the The Second Avenue Subway line would end here.
You could clap in time to the cadence of his speech, but instead I hold my bag against my knees, turn off my iPhone, listen and watch New York. From the upper level platform there are three long escalators and intermediate levels before we reach the fare control.
Thus it can be said that the southbound side of the station has the traditional placement of local and express tracks reversed.
With the tunnel so lightly trafficked and with no transit crew nearby, there was no expectation of help. Walls always seem more real when covered with imperfect but beautiful and colourful messages. They would have continued to and under the East River as part of the IND Second System lines. At the south end of the fare control are two very long escalators to the lowest intermediate level.
Before the mid 1980s they were open and used for laying up trains from time to time, but they were quickly inundated by squatters who domiciled in the nooks and crannies of the tunnel. Evidence of the provision for the Second Avenue Subway is found in a lower transverse ceiling across the platforms and the discontiguous mezzanines.



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