New elevator unveiled at Hoyt Street subway station

September 25, 2023 Raanan Geberer
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — As part of its ongoing drive to make as many subway stations accessible as possible, the MTA on Thursday announced a new elevator at the Hoyt Street subway station on the 2 and 3 lines, next to the Macy’s department store in Downtown Brooklyn.

Although this is the sixth subway elevator announced by the subway system this year, the Hoyt Street elevator is unusual in that it was totally bought, paid for and installed by Macy’s itself, not costing the MTA a dime. 

There are other privately installed elevators in the subway system — for example, one at Barclays Center — but they have been the exception, rather than the rule.

The full project includes the elevator and a staircase within a new street-level entrance to the station, according to the MTA.

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“We’re here to celebrate the fact that we’re building elevators five times as fast as ever before,” said Janno Lieber,  MTA chair and CEO, applauding the business community for stepping up to the challenge as well.

Lieber stressed that “elevators are not only for people with disabilities. They’re for parents with strollers, people with shopping bag, people rushing around with a scooter or a bike.

“My mother said, when she was in her nineties, `I can’t get up and down the stairs in my subway station. I don’t feel like a New Yorker. You’ve got to do something about that,’” Lieber recalled.

Quemuel Arroyo, MTA chief accessibility officer, said that the elevator opens up access to “the vibrant Fulton Mall, my own alma mater NYU, shopping and the MTA’s own building. It complements options at nearby stations like Jay Street an DeKalb Avenue.”

Anthony Mazza, representing Macy’s, said the project is part of the ongoing transformation not only of Fulton Street but the Fulton Mall as a whole. “For more than a century, this store has represented opportunity, community and hope,” he said. 

Until the 1990s, the store was famous in Brooklyn as Abraham & Straus, or A&S for short. Its bankrupt parent company, Federated Department Stores, was acquired by Macy’s in 1994, and the following year the A&S name was dropped. 

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “People with disabilities are people. They need to be out here on our streets, shopping in our stores. People with disabilities have been an afterthought for so long. When we finally got curb cuts, everybody loves the curb cuts.”

She characterized the Hoyt Street station as “kind of narrow, not that easy to get in and out of,” and added that she would be using the station more often now that the elevator has been installed. 

Councilmember Lincoln Restler mentioned several other new elevators that have been installed or are planned in Downtown Brooklyn, for example at the Court Street and Clark Street stations, as well as new escalators at the Adams Street end of the A and C lines’ High Street station.

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