OPINION: A subway station and an industrial canal
The other day, I took a trip to Carroll Gardens, and since I had some time to kill, I took the F train one more stop to the newly renovated Smith-9th Streets station, which reopened about a month ago. Not only is Smith-9th Streets one of only two elevated stops on the IND division of the transit system, it’s the highest elevated rapid-transit system in the city, and by some accounts, in the world.
The station looked very impressive, just as it did in the photos released the MTA. The outdoor part had an impressive ironwork design of alternating half-circles above a chest-high concrete barrier. The original mosaics, darkened by years of neglect, have been restored, and futuristic new lighting fixtures have been installed overhead.
The “main” part of the platform is made of completely new concrete, with plastic windows that contain a wire mesh. Many years ago, all elevated stations had glass windows. But over the years, the windows grew cracked and dirty and were eventually covered up with an aluminum surface. This restores the windows, and they are a welcome edition.
Going down to the mezzanine, there are more windows, these of just clear plastic. While the escalators are brand new, I was a little disappointed that they only come up to the mezzanine, and people have to walk the one flight of stairs to the platforms. Still, the new escalators are a great improvement over the old ones – in the old days, at least one of them always seemed to be out of service.
One word about the complaint that the renovated station isn’t disabled accessible. There are varying degrees of “disability” – not every disabled person needs to use a wheelchair. Some are able to walk, although slowly and with a cane. While it’s somewhat unfortunate that the new station was built without an elevator, there are many other people (including me, who often gets out of breath while walking up many flights of stairs because of my asthma) whom the new escalator banks will help substantially.