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For photos see www.nycsubway.org
North refers to Harlem/145th St or Bedford Park Blvd, Bronx. South refers to Brighton Beach. This line operates from approx 5:30 AM to 8:55 PM Southbound and from 6 AM to 8:40 PM Northbound. Service to/from Bedford Park Blvd during rush hours only in both directions (5:25 AM to 9 AM and 4:15 PM to 6:45 PM). All other times, B trains operate between Brighton Beach and Harlem/145th Street.
145th Street-Harlem (St. Nicholas Ave between 145th and 147th Streets) opened 9/10/1932: This station has 2 levels, the upper level is where the A ( See A Lefferts and A Rockaway) and C trains use, and the lower level is where the Concourse B and D trains stop. There are 2 full time mezzanines, one at 145th St (4 street stairs available, one for each corner), and the other at 147th St (2 street stairs). Each side has 3 stairs from mezzanine to the upper level, and 1 escalator from each mezzanine, directly down to the Uptown only side lower level (B/D) platform. There are no escalators from the Downtown side to upper level. Like many other IND stations when first opened, it had a full length mezzanine connecting both of today's mezzanines; this space is now used by the NYPD as a Transit Bureau District Office. Unknown to most people, there was also exits in the middle of the closed mezzanine, there actually is (what appears to be) an original 1932 IND sign on the Downtown, upper level side that sits overhead in the middle of the platform. To see this sign, you need to stand and face the north end it reads "To Uptown trains and exit to street", it is in front of a half-cut and abandoned staircase. Outside of the station, on the street, a closed and slabbed staircase still sits on the Northwest corner of 146th Street and St. Nicholas. The upper level is 4 tracks and 2 island platforms; however the lower level has 3 tracks and 2 island platforms. The Uptown platform on the lower level is wider than the Downtown platform, the possible IND plan was to make the Concourse line in the Bronx as 4 tracks, but plans were scaled back down to 3. The Concourse line opened a year later after the first IND line (1933). This station is where midday and evening B trains terminate on the middle track before returning back to Brooklyn. During AM and PM rush hours, the same middle track is used by D Concourse express trains in the peak direction traveled only (AM Southbound and PM Northbound). From this point down to 59th Street/Columbus Circle, there are 4 lines (A (See A Lefferts and A Rockaway), B, C, D) running. From 145th Street to 125th Street, the train enters a maze of complex switches, but is actually easier to figure things out when you ride area between these points a few times each way. A tower sits on the north end at the Manhattan-bound platform, and doubles as a crew facility for midday and evening B trains using the middle track
From 145th Street, the 2 local tracks rise up to the main line upper level while the 3 express center track does not rise until 100 feet further down. As the tracks merge into a maze of interlockings before 135th St, 2 additional bypass tracks are visible, 1 track for each direction between the local and express tracks. The local tracks form a Y first before the express track forms a Y in the center
135th Street (Saint Nicholas Ave between 135th and 137th Streets) opened 9/10/1932: Local stop, tile band now becomes green. This is the only local stop that has 6 tracks separating both side platforms. Fare controls are all at platform level, no mezzanine and no cross-over or under. The full time booths are at the 135th St side (one booth to each side, 3 stairs on Uptown side, 1 stair on Downtown side), and the Part time sides at 137th Street had ghost booths and 1 street stair to each side. There were restrooms at the north end of the Downtown platform. Both of the street stairs on the downtown side were built facing Morningside Park and have a 19th Century feel to them. The exit-only stair from the Part time Uptown side features a nice array of stone casting in a Cathedral like setting, originally built in 1932, not your common steel entrance. Of the 6 tracks, only 4 are in active revenue service. The other 2 tracks are only used for non-revenue service.
125th Street (125th Street and Saint Nicholas Ave.) Opened 9/10/1932: Express stop in the heart of Harlem's busiest commercial strip, it is an express stop with 4 tracks and 2 island platforms. The station had a renovation in the 1980's, during which the set of stairs to each platform at the north end were removed. The current ADA plan restored these 2 stairs at the far North end. Station has full length mezzanine with one each of Fulltime and Part time fare control areas. Fulltime side at 125th street has 4 street stairs and Part time side has 2 street stairs. There are 5 stairs to each platform. There are large scale photos of Harlem in the 1920's and 1930's. In the middle of the mezzanine, there is evidence of closed stairs and exits to 126th street, one on each side. One of the stairs appears to lead into a business that existed at street level. The tile band on the platform walls is untouched from the 1980's renovation and is green
116th Street (West 116th Street/Frederick Douglas Boulevard) opened 9/10/1932: 4 tracks, 2 side platforms. Each side has one platform level mezzanine, no crossover or underpass and 2 street stairs. 116 and 135 Street are the only 2 stations north of 59th Street/CC that do not permit doubling back to the opposite direction without leaving the system. There is evidence on both sides of an abandoned Part time entrance or exit at the north end, by West 118th St.
110th Street/Cathedral Parkway (West 109th St and Central Park West) opened 9/10/1932: local station with Full time mezzanine and crossover at 109th Street side at south end with 2 street stairs and 2 stairs to each platform. The station and wall tiles were recently restored to a near immaculate appearance. Additional Part time booth and fare control at Southbound side to Cathedral Parkway, the street stairs were most likely extended when the apartment high-rise at the Northwest corner of Central Park West and Cathedral Parkway was built in the 1970’s. There is evidence of an underpass at the 110th St side, and a closed booth on the Northbound side. This station and 103rd St are very interesting places for train watching, especially seeing the unusual track configuration of the Northbound express track. At 110th Street, the trains rise up from below at the north end. Artwork: “Migrations” by Christopher Wynter (1999)
At this point below 110th St/Cathedral, the Southbound (Downtown) tracks will drop below the Northbound side to create bi-level stations from 103rd St to 72nd St. Downtown trains will use the lower level, while Uptown trains use the upper level. Due to the track configuration, the Northbound express track drops from upper to lower level at 103rd St, then rises back up at 110th St-Cathedral Parkway, an unusual place to watch in the NYC subway system,
According to the MTA Web Site" At Cathedral Parkway, Harlem's southern boundary, three large mosaic murals were created that refer to migration and African homelands. "Overall, the panels present the ideas of uprooting, migration, and progress in symbolic form," says artist Christopher Wynter. He further explains that the blocks of color differentiate various African ancestral homelands, and the circular symbol represents the n'kis, or sacred place concept, of the Nkongo people. Houses on stilts suggest Central African buildings, while horizontal bands of color denote village paths. Wheels and walking feet describe faraway destinations, according to Wynter, and reference the mass movements of Africans throughout history. The station is located below Frederick Douglass Circle. Douglass, the abolitionist crusader, is also depicted.."
103rd Street (West 103rd Street and Central Park West) Opened 9/10/1932: There used to be 3 entrances to this station, only one now exists, 1 street stair to mezzanine, with one stair level down to Southbound local platform. The Northbound express track runs from upper to lower level before rising up at 110th Street. Signs to abandoned 102nd and 104th Street exits are covered with red with white “Exit” signs.
96th Street (West 96th Street and Central Park West [CPW]) Opened 9/10/1932: Current station has 2 exits, Fulltime area is smaller than most platform level IND entrances, 3 steps up to N/B platform, 1 stair down to lower level at Fulltime side, another at Part time side to 97th St. Part time side at 97th Street has 2 street stairs, one stair to Northwest corner at 97th St and CPW is relocated with longer passageway (it has 1960’s type of entrance, similar in design to the Lenox Ave stations or Grand St/IND). This is due to the widening of 97th Street. An old “K” route bullet sits on the face of this entrance, the line was discontinued on 12/10/1988. The south end has ABD exit to 95th Street.
86th Street (West 86th Street and Central Park West) opened 9/10/1932: only station along CPW to have all station fare control areas left intact. Station has 3 entrances from 86th to 88th Streets. 86th Street is, of course, the full time area with 2 street stairs and 2 stairs to lower level. 87th St. is exit only and still has old fashioned HXT wheel with 1 street stair and possible ghost booth. 88th St has ghost booth and is HEET accessible.
81st Street Museum of Natural History (West 81st Street and Central Park West) Opened 9/10/1932: A good number of movies were filmed inside and outside this station, among them “Men in Black II”, where Will Smith exits the 79th St passageway after nearly been “eaten” by a monster in an mock R32 train. Other films are: “Hannah and Her Sisters”. This station was renovated in-house by NYCT forces in 2000 and is a shining example of how renovations should be done, by updating the footprints of the IND tile band and signage, while preserving the integrity of this station, and combing the artwork with the IND footprints in their natural habitat at the same time. This station serves both the Museum of the same name and the adjacent Rose Center for Earth and Space. Artwork: “For Want of a Nail” (1999-2001) done by the staff and design team of the very same MTA Arts for Transit program, features a beautiful array of animals on the upper level and extinct species on the lower level using 4 different types of material, from bronze to glass, to create over 35 different mosaics. For example: a lizard is drawn as if he is “walking” on the purple tile band, an owl sits on top of an 81 tile mosaic, while the most interesting artwork is a whale “diving” underneath the platform near the 81st St side. Fulltime side is at 81st St and has 2 street stairs. Part time side has direct entrance to Museum of Natural History and passageway to West 79th St and Central Park West, and 3 staircases from Uptown level to Downtown level. Most portions of the tile band are 1 tile deep, instead of the usual 3 tile height and are an addition because 81st Street had no tile band. “MUSEUM” and 81 directional mosaics are a shade of dark purple, instead of the customarily white lettering on black background on most pre-unification IND stations.
According to the MTA Web Site "...In For Want of a Nail, the artist team used a variety of materials to suggest the range and diversity at the American Museum of Natural History, directly above the subway station. Glass mosaic, glass tile, ceramic tile, granite, and bronze relief are combined in ways that highlight the ten key disciplines at the Museum. The mosaics represent extinct and living animals, the former in grey and the latter in color. The work assembles images from outer space to the earth's core and from the first organisms to emerge to mammals of today. The artwork was a collaboration between MTA Arts for Transit and the Museum. For Want of a Nail, the title of an old proverb, asks the viewer to consider the way everything is connected.
72nd Street (West 72nd Street-Central Park West) opened 9/10/1932: Station currently has 2 entrances and an ABD exit in the middle of the station. This station has an interesting street level entrance at the Southwest corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West, it is one of the longest subway entrances. Fulltime booth at West 72nd Street has 2 street stairs (including the extra-long entrance), while P/T side at West 70th Street, and has ghost booth and 1 street stair. Much of the P/T fare control is shortened due to an additional station facility. There also was a central exit. The 71st St, exit now has HEETs. The “71” directional tablets, below the large “72nd St” station mosaic tile, are covered up with current black and white lettering signs. Access to the downtown lower level can be made via. any one of the 3 staircases, the center staircase from upper to lower is gated shut.
59th Street-Columbus Circle (entire area within Columbus Circle, at Broadway/Central Park West) IRT section opened 10/27/1904, IND section opened 9/10/1932: This station is fully discussed in our Complexes Page.
7th Ave/53rd St (West 53rd Street, between Broadway and 7th Ave) Opened 12/15/1940: has two tracks and an island platform on each level. The north track serves Eighth Avenue Service (E Train) and the South serves Sixth avenue trains (B and D Train). The south exit leads to Broadway and the North to Seventh Avenue. Trains to lower Manhattan D Train and Brooklyn are on the upper level and trains to upper Manhattan, Bronx and Queens are on the lower level. This station has been renovated and uses panel tile rather than individually set tiles
47th/50th Streets/Rockefeller Center (Ave of the Americas, between West 47th and West 50th Streets) Opened 12/15/1940: Very large station, it is an express stop along the prestigious Avenue of the Americas, with 4 tracks and 2 island platforms. Ordinarily, since this portion of the line is express, we would be arriving on the express track. Because of the tricky “T” shaped line configuration involving the E, F, M and B/D lines traveling in different directions, southbound express and local trains come in on opposite sides, the B and D express trains use the local track, while F and M trains use the express track. Station has numerous passageways and exits, a total count of at least 14 entrances from street level alone, were taken. This does not include several passageways through Rockefeller Center, all outside fare control. Full time booth is at north end of full-length mezzanine, at West 49th Street, with 1 passageway through Rockefeller Center on the East side, and another set of passageways through various Concourse levels of office buildings along the west side of Avenue of the Americas. A passageway to one northern Part time staircase leads to Radio City Music Hall/West 50th Street and is open late during evening performances. Another passageway along west side of 49th St, was recently extended to connect with the BMT 49th St station on the N, R and former W lines (no free transfer). Middle fare control at West 48th Street has ghost booth and all-day HEET access. South fare control at West 47th St has Part time booth and more staircases. Eagle eye movie fans who saw the 1976 thriller “Marathon Man”, will note the old KK rush hour subway route on a street entrance of the east side of Ave of the Americas and West 47th Street, before the routes’ demise. Each platform has 7 stairs to mezzanine, the north end of the Northbound platform has an active tower, and is depressed about 10 feet below the southbound platform. This is to prepare the lines to be branched out towards the Bronx and Queens. Color band is red, with dark brown borders, “47” and “50” alternate each other below the tile band.
42nd St-Bryant Park (Originally 42nd Street) Opened 12/15/1940: This station is discussed in the complexes page.
34th Street-Herald Square (West 34th St/Broadway/6th Ave) BMT Section opened 1/15/1918. IND Section and expanded Mezzanines opened 12/15/1940. IND Express tracks opened for part-time use, 11/27/1967, full time on 7/1/1968.This station is discussed on the complexes page.
West 4th Street (Ave of the Americas between West 3rd St and Waverly Place) Upper level opened 9/10/1932, Lower level opened 12/15/1940. has four tracks on the upper level, serving A,( see A Lefferts and A Rockaway) C and E trains, a lower Mezzanine and then a lower level serving B, D, F M, and former V trains. The lower Mezzanine is full width and length and also holds numerous offices for NYCT. The north end of the upper level has exits to the street. The south end of the upper level ramps up to a crossover and a booth. A tower is at the south end of the southbound lower level platform. The North exit leads to West Eighth Street and the south to west Third Street. The exit to west Fourth Street has been removed. The station has a secondary name of Washington Square.
Broadway-Lafayette (West Houston Street between Broadway and Lafayette Ave) Opened 10/1/1936 Station has free transfer to IRT Downtown 6 train (4 trains stop here during late nights) at east end, and is approx 3 levels deep. The free transfer from the east end of the IND platform to the IRT is underway. This area appears to be an entrance at one time that apparently never was finished; it is sealed as a false wall. The relatively high ceiling at the same end indicates a ramp was planned somewhere also. This station features only 1 full time fare control area at Broadway and West Houston, with 2 street stairs. Before the renovation, the fare control was situated in the middle, between the 2 Broadway entrances and the Lafayette Ave entrance. The Lafayette Ave entrance on the south side is currently 24/7 HEET access. A new entrance and booth on the North side of Lafayette Ave and Houston was constructed during the renovation, the booth fell victim to the 2003 ax, as is now listed a ghost booth and part-time HEET access. There is an intermediate level between the mezzanine/IRT level and platform level; it contains artwork on the columns. “Signal” by Mel Chin (1998) uses various materials to create a lighted appearance at the bottom of the column. There are 3 stairs from each platform to intermediate level and an additional 2 stairs from intermediate to mezzanine level. At the far western end (due north in accordance to lines traveled) is another set of stairs (1 for each side) that lead directly up to fare control, 3 levels and a steep walk up.
Grand Street (Grand and Chrystie Streets) Opened 11/27/1967: This is one of 2 additional stations added during the massive IND Chrystie St. Connection from 1967-68, and plays an important part for customers traveling to/from Chinatown. Station is 2 tracks on 2 side platforms, 2 stairs to each platform, and 3 street stairs to the only mezzanine in the station. The station originally had 2 stairs to the east side of Chrystie St, the 3rd staircase on the west side of Chrystie St was added in the early 1990's to alleviate overcrowding in the station. Recent artwork installed at the mezzanine and platform suggests red clay formations made on train sets. At the Brooklyn-bound side, there is a small sign "Change Radio Channel to B1" indicating the Train Operator must change his channel from B2 (IND) to B1 (BMT), before crossing the Manhattan Bridge.
As we enter the Manhattan Bridge we see a bellmouth inward. This bellmouth was originally Broadway Line Q/ QB used to enter the North side of the bridge before the Chrystie realignment.
We are crossing the North Side of the Manhattan Bridge, while the Broadway Line uses the south side. Before the IND came over the Manhattan Bridge in 1967, the north 2 tracks were for Broadway Line trains, while the south 2 tracks were used for trains using the Nassau St. Loop. For more details on the Manhattan Bridge track configuration, please see www.nycsubway.org for more details.
Myrtle Avenue opened 9/13/1915.closed 7/12/1956. Was local stop with 2 side platforms and only 2 tracks served, however there were a total of 6 tracks, 4 were bypassing this station. BMT Myrtle Ave mosaic on wall is still present. Northbound side is left intact, but the s/b platform was removed when the Gold Street interlocking (the area between DeKalb Ave and the Manhattan Bridge) was reconfigured. From the Broadway line, traveling down, the track that currently depressed down and joins back up for either bypass or regular DeKalb switching, was actually the original track and not depressed, while the track to the right, which Q trains use, was where the platform was located. On 7/26/1956, this station was permanently closed in anticipation of the expansion of DeKalb Ave station, which included the addition of the north mezzanine at that station. At the same time, a network of interlocking switches and track at both ends of DeKalb were reconfigured in 1956-57. In the late 1970’s or possibly early 80’s, along the intact Northbound platform, a psychedelic set of frames was installed to appear that a short film was in motion while you were on the train and moving. The last set of frames show a small rocket ship taking off in time to avoid impact with a much bigger ship. Over time, graffiti took its toll on this artwork, and the area is permanently covered and sealed.
DeKalb Avenue (DeKalb Ave and Flatbush Ave Extension) Opened 1/15/1915. Realignment in 1957.: This station has been renovated as a joint venture by Gottleib/Skanska/Slattery. It is expected to have some of the most beautiful replicas of original BMT Mosaics. A revisit to this station will commence upon completion early next year, and will be made fully ADA accessible by then. Station is six tracks, 2 island platforms, 3 fare control areas, and 5 stairs to each platform. The outermost tracks are called "Bridge" tracks because they run to/from the Manhattan Bridge and are used primarily for B and Q trains. The next 2 tracks are called "Tunnel" tracks for they operate to/from the Montague tunnel. all day R, and late night N trains use these tunnel tracks. The middle 2 tracks bypass this station, they both operate to/from the Bridge, N and D trains use them to bypass DeKalb (except late nights where they stop at DeKalb), hence the term “DeKalb bypass”
Here are the facts on these 6 tracks:
A Manhattan-bound train coming into the station must use the Bridge or tunnel route, they cannot switch routes once they arrive in the station. So the Bridge side is the "local side" while the tunnel is the express side.
A Brooklyn-bound train entering DeKalb bypass from the bridge, cannot access the Brighton line, the train is forced to use the 4th Ave express tracks. This rule also applies for Manhattan-bound travel as Brighton line trains cannot use the DeKalb bypass.
Prior to the 1956-57 reconfiguration, things were quite different. A Manhattan-bound train could use either track in the station, and when leaving, can use the diamond “X” crossover switches just north of the station. Even DeKalb bypass had a switch to the Montague tunnel track, the area by the north where there was no wall separating the bypass track and tunnel track, was the location of the switch (Ever wondered why the wall at DeKalb Ave falls short of the entire length of the old platform BEFORE the north extension?). Now with the ongoing renovation, this area now has a wall to match with the rest of the existing wall on the tunnel side. Southbound from Bridge or Tunnel is essentially the same, with the X crossover before entering DeKalb and the lone switch from tunnel to DeKalb bypass can be made. The platform was curved to the south, the same area that is currently abandoned before the Brighton/4th Ave split is still there. The switches to/from Brighton and DeKalb were slightly further to the south. This accounts why on the Bridge side, that B and Q trains have a slight S curve in both directions between DeKalb and Atlantic Ave stations. In June, 1957, the curved southern portion of DeKalb Ave was closed and abandoned in favor of a straight platform to the north, and the current setup of switches are in place. This included the removal of the X crossover switches just north of DeKalb Ave. The north platform extension was built sometime in the 1960’s.
The Full time booth is at the south end by DeKalb Ave and features artwork . The middle staircase is a crossover, as during the renovation one staircase is removed. At the middle crossover area there is a sealed exit only to the outside of a bank building. This exit was originally closed until the first stage of the recent renovation reopened this exit. The exit is now sealed again, and has the original BMT tile and mosaics, not the replicas that dot the rest of this station (although the replica mosaics are outstanding.) These stairs were used to be connected to the Full time side until installation and expansion of the DeKalb Ave tower and other RTO facilities took place, so it was a full passageway. During the 1960's platform extensions (to conform with IND train lengths once Chrystie was completed), the platforms were extended to the north and a new P/T fare control area was installed. The last bits of evidence of the platform extension of 60's wall tile bands in the same design as Grand Street on the bridge side, however they are being covered with the retro BMT look. The tunnel tracks depress slightly in relation to the other 4 tracks at the north end where the extension was built. The DEKALB AVE and BMT mosaics are near identical replicas, additional extra large diamond and "X" mosaics are installed on the Fulltime mezzanine walls. Elevator to street is on the Southwest corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues. As built it was a local stop for the Fourth Avenue Local (As evidenced in the Booths being prefaced by the letter "C".) When the Brighton Line was extended from Prospect Park the current track against the wall (Bridge Tracks) was added via the wall being pushed back.
After leaving DeKalb Ave, we break away to the right on the first diverging switch and head to Atlantic Ave, we travel underneath Ashland Place. There was speculation that the IND's second system had plans on the drawing boards to connect the BMT with the IND's Fulton St and Crosstown lines. Called the Ashland Place connection, it never materialized past the drawing board. No evidence of any odd track walls "breaking off" from the main line exist in this area from either direction traveled on this line.
According to the MTA Web Site "...Stephen Johnson-DeKalb Improvisation, 2005.Glass mosaic on mezzanine walls.Stephen Johnson describes his mosaic mural and his inspiration for the energy it conveys: "My idea for these murals is to convey a sense of joy through an exuberant juxtaposition of colors, shapes, and familiar images. ... On the surface, the variety of colors and shapes in the mosaics resemble collages and invite the traveler to consider the multiple layers of images found on city walls, particularly in the subway, where posters may tear, revealing previous images and forming exciting compositions....The glass is as diverse as the station's passengers, whose ethnic origins stem from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. ... I wanted the abstract design to be balanced with realistic images that people can instantly get." The work brings vibrancy and texture to the station environment.
Atlantic Ave is the next stop and is discussed in the complexes page.
7th Avenue (On Flatbush Ave Extension and Park Pl): Opened 8/1/1920 Station has 2 tracks, 2 side platforms, 2 open stairs from mezzanine (crossover is allowed), and 3 street stairs. The 2 closed staircases at the south end are still standing, there used to be a full length mezzanine as you can see from look up at the side walls above you. This station is another location of pure evidence of "Dual Contracts", the line shares space with the IRT along the same street. IRT local tracks are behind both station walls and run alongside the same level as us. IRT express tracks run directly below us. Platform extensions took place on both ends, as evident is the differences of tile formations. Despite the stations age (over 84 years) the original "7" and "7th Avenue" tiles are in excellent shape. An emergency exit lies at the south end of the Southbound platform, while you can stand at the far north end of the Northbound platform and face the tunnel on the southbound track wall side. You will actually see IRT outbound local trains through this tunnel, heading toward Grand Army Plaza station.
Prospect Park (Midpoint between Flatbush and Ocean Avenues and south of Lincoln Road.) Opened 8/1/1920: This station is fully ADA accessible and features a transfer to the Franklin Ave Shuttle. It is the first open-cut station on the Brighton line as the north end is tunneled, while the center and south ends are open-cut design. Full time booth is at south side of Lincoln Road and features new elevators installed in 2002 (the renovation of this station was done 8 years before the elevator installations). Part-time booth is on Flatbush Ave and across from Empire Blvd. The entrance at this side features mosaics of animal drawings, in recognition of the nearby Prospect Park Zoo. The emergency exit opposite the only staircase is actually a set of closed staircases that were open prior to the 1994 renovation. Prior to the station upgrade to ADA access, the Fulltime and Part time booths were switched, Fulltime side was at Empire/Flatbush and Part time side was at Lincoln. This change was required because the elevators were being installed at Lincoln Road and ADA regulations mandated 24/7 access at this entrance. Artwork “Brighton Clay Re-Leaf #1 and #2 (#3 is at Parkside Ave mezzanine) features ceramic mosaics and friezes of different colored “clay” leaves to commemorate the park leaves of the same name nearby. Although the station has 4 tracks on 2 island platforms, only 3 of the 4 tracks are in active revenue use. The “express” tracks are for B and Q trains; the Shuttle uses 2 car sets and operates near the north end of the Manhattan-bound local wall track. The Coney-Island bound wall track is only used for spare shuttle trainsets laying up there. North of this track lies the worst NYC subway disaster and is called the Malbone Street disaster. At that time, the Brighton line ran alongside the shuttle route toward the Fulton Street El. There used to be a tower at the far south end of the Manhattan bound platform, express side (underneath Lincoln Road), this tower was closed and converted to a RTO crew facility when the Brighton Line’s signal system was replaced from Atlantic Ave to Kings Highway in 1990.
On 11/1/1918, during the first strike against Brooklyn Rapid Transit, (the precursor to today’s BMT lines) an inexperienced motorman named Anthony Lewis (ironically his last name was also known as Luciano or the reference to Satan), was on the controls of a 5 car BMT wooden gate car set from Park Row to Coney Island during the evening rush. He was one of the operator replacements during the operator’s strike, and the problem was further exacerbated by his lack of knowledge along this line. After leaving Park Place station in Brooklyn, he was taking the train at full speed. Mr. Luciano went so fast, that he skipped Consumers Park station and eventually slammed into a curve inside the tunnel just north of Prospect Park station. The curve is similar in design to the “horseshoe” curve on the IRT 5 line just south of 149th Street/Grand Concourse station and is regulated at less than 10 MPH. BRT gate cars #80, 100, 725, 726, and 1064 were literally destroyed by the impact of the steel tunnel at the curve, as 97 people died and over 100 more were injured, many of them seriously. The accident has so many repercussions; massive legal tort claims against the BRT forced them into bankruptcy; which later was reorganized as the BMT in 1923. The street, Malbone Street, was renamed into today’s Empire Boulevard, however, a ½ block section off of New York Ave still remains. The design of new cars required steel components, not wooden components (The D-Type Triplex units were introduced in 1923-24 with the steel materials), and Mr. Luciano, as well as other indicted BRT bosses, were acquitted of all the manslaughter indictments against them a year after the accident.
According to the MTA Web Site "For both the Prospect Park and Parkside Avenue stations, Susan Tunick created intricate, multicolored ceramic mosaic murals and borders. These 1919 stations, with station booths and turnstiles located in above-ground "headhouses," feature wall tiles and decorative borders influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement. Tunick's art celebrates the vintage ceramic ornamentation of the station and is inspired by her fascination with terra cotta and her childhood memories of nearby Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tunick says her works for the sites, collectively titled Brighton Clay Re-Leaf, Nos.1-4, balance her respect for the stations' "ceramic history," her recollection of the colors and shapes of the foliage in the park and garden, and her desire to add eye-catching modern design, which is achieved in her use of bold color, pattern, and texture in the tiles.
We leave Prospect Park and are treated to a nice mix of open cut, embankment, and elevated sections of the Brighton Line. The train achieves speeds of 40 MPH or more in most stretches from here to Sheepshead Bay. We go through a few tunnels while breezing past Parkside Ave.
Church Ave (Church Ave and East 18th St) Opened 8/23/1907: Station is open cut with tunnels at both ends, 4 tracks, 2 island platforms, 2 staircases; 1 to each stationhouse at both ends. Originally 2 tracks and 1 entrance, the Brighton line expanded to 4 tracks. It was one of the first stations in the entire system to be renovated and has no artwork. Fulltime side is at Church Ave at south end; the original stationhouse was demolished and replaced with new house having no character. Plain white tiles dot the current interior and exterior of this entrance. There are restrooms inside fare control to the right side. The Part time side is at the North end by Caton Ave and St. Pauls Place, the stationhouse’s exterior was preserved at least. This side originally had Part time booth during the morning rush and had iron maiden entrance all other times. After the 1980’s renovation, the station was converted to booth operations from 7 AM to 10 PM, 7 days a week. All of the platform columns were covered with steel supports during the renovation. Southbound side by conductors’ position at midpoint has abandoned exit to East 18th Street, between Church and Caton Avenues. The exterior of the house was made with brick and stucco, suggesting that it was added to the existing station sometime in the 1960’s or early 70’s. The boarded up staircase still stands.
As we leave Church Avenue, we go through a min-tunnel before seeing daylight again. The walls of the open cut area are different about 200 feet down, and an abandoned pedestrian overpass at Albemarle Road is still present. It is before we bypass Beverley Road.
Although there are no traces of a tunnel
dug just north of Newkirk Avenue, there was a proposal in 1949
by the NYC Board of Transportation (before the creation of the
new York City Transit Authority) to connect the Brighton Line
with the IND portion of the Culver Line from Church Avenue North
via a two track connection running underground on Ditmas Avenue.
Since construction of this line would require the acquiring of
the ROW of townhouses and estates on Ditmas Avenue was shelved.
The stations from here to and including Kings Highway are being renovated by Granite Construction Northeast.
Newkirk Ave (Newkirk Plaza, East 16th Street between Newkirk and Foster Avenues) opened 8/23/1907: This station sits in the middle of an outdoor pedestrian mall, the station was renovated in 1986, while the mall sidewalks were renovated in Spring 2004. A few of the stores along the mall are still in existence for nearly 90 years; one of them, a hardware store pre-dates the opening of the current Brighton Line. Standing at any point inside the mall, you can see and imagine where the original Brighton line ran at grade level, before the 1907 reconfiguration. A 1907 plaque facing the east stationhouse wall commemorates the origin of the BRT’s roots as a rapid transit company and is titled “The Depression and Elevation of Grade Crossings…” supports further evidence of this. Station is 4 tracks along 2 island platforms, open cut configuration, and restored 1907 stationhouse (thankfully). The interior is modern, while the exterior is preserved as much as possible, including the bronze plaque. Artwork: “Transit Skylight” (1988) by David Wilson, uses Zinc-glazed polycarbonate to create geometrical design of squares fitted into a triangular window, and allowing natural sunlight to beam down inside the stationhouse. It is located in the rear of the mezzanine, behind a trio of benches. In the wintertime, there are heaters behind the benches for added comfort. On the platform, the extension appears to the north, while aluminum beams on the platform ceiling were removed in the late 1990’s because it posed a safety hazard to customers. Directional sign to Foster Ave and a bus symbol, are present in the station. This lighted sign was added during the 1980’s renovation to quickly identify the location of the B8 bus line, which stops at the Foster Ave side of the Plaza.
According to the MTA Web Site "...David Wilson- Transit Skylight, 1988,. Zinc-glazed polycarbonate skylight.David Wilson's skylight fills the waiting area of this Brooklyn subway station with bright, clear light. The panels are framed in blue and the pattern in the panes consists of black lines and solid panels in geometric form, that echoes the aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement and leaded glass work from that era, but with a more contemporary interpretation. In Wilson's words, "I had been interested in the use of plastics and the possibility of "leadlines" that are not feasible in glass - thus the diagonal "cuts" going to nowhere in the piece (i.e. stopping in the middle of a color). The project is a kind of architectural statement - a skylight set into a difficult environment (a steel I-beam divides the triangular window into two halves so that it is hard to read as a whole)."
Leaving Newkirk Ave, we rise above ground where it becomes the embankment portion of the Brighton Line. Until the 1920’s the Brighton shared space with the South Brooklyn Railway that ran to the east of the current Brighton from south of Avenue H and provided service to Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay. There are still some footprints of this abandoned line in various parts of the Brighton, see the Q page for more details.
Kings Highway (Kings Highway and East 16th Street) Opened 8/23/1907: Express stop, 4 tracks, 2 island platforms on embankment, the station was renovated in the late 1980’s. There are 5 staircases on each platform, leading to 3 fare control areas, at street level. From north to south, the staircase locations are as follows: 1 staircase to N/S Kings Highway is 24/7 HEET access and ghost booth, the booth was closed in 2003. 2nd and 3rd staircases leads to Fulltime booth at the South Side of Kings Highway, there is an exit only wheel, next to the mezzanine area for easier exit from Southbound B platform. The 4th and 5th staircases lead to Quentin Road and East 16th St, it is open weekdays only. The Quentin Road mezzanine is interesting because the tiles and signs are 1950’s or 60’s style, suggesting the growth of Kings Highway mandated a 3rd exit built at this station. Further confirmation of the newest entrance is the word "SUBWAY" used outside and to the sides, if it was an original entrance, the "BMT lines" would be used instead. Similar use of the word "Subway" is Rockaway Park and Broad Channel stations (see H shuttle), while the Rockaway line was converted from LIRR to IND use in 1956. The yellow tiles are similar to the additional north entrance at DeKalb, this time they are yellow, and were left unchanged during the 1980’s renovation; other 2 mezzanines are fully renovated. Platform extensions are clearly to the north, you can see a "break" on the platform floors (steel plates are present) and the difference underneath the platform. Artwork at both Kings Highway mezzanines: "Kings Highway Hieroglyphs" (1987) by Rhoda Andors, made of porcelain enamel, details the people and trains at the station entrances. Both sets are the same inside fare control. During the 1990’s signal replacement on the Brighton Line, a new signal electrical tower was installed over the express tracks at the south end. The old tower about 150 feet south of this station and facing the Southbound local track, is abandoned in favor of the new DeKalb master tower, which controls the interlocking switches and signals in this area.
Sheepshead Bay (Sheepshead Bay Road and East 15th Street) Station was renovated by NYCT’s in-house MOW forces in 1997-98 and features some very nice artwork. The main entrance has "Welcome to Sheepshead Bay" next to the entrance/exit doors, along with 2 circular windows that allow you to peek from the outside and see the mezzanine. The mezzanine inside fare control has 3 pieces of artwork, all titled "Postcards from Sheepshead Bay" (1998) by Deborah Golez. Made of ceramic tile, it draws the faces and life on the "Bay" (as Brooklynites call it short for the neighborhood called Sheepshead Bay.). Inside the mezzanine, there are 3 artwork designs, a diner, some people wearing 17th century clothing near a boat dock, and a fisherman. A closer examination of the tile band at the mezzanine level has sea shells and Pisces fish. A bench sits facing fare control at Sheepshead Bay side and has 2 overhead heaters that provide comfort during the winter months. Although the main street serving the Full time booth at north end is Sheepshead Bay Road, the station was named for the area, rather than the street, (Same for our next and last stop, Brighton Beach, which the main avenue running underneath the station is Brighton Beach Ave.) Platform curves to the west and makes for an interesting way to watch trains arriving, especially from the south end; it was extended to the north on both sides. Like Kings Highway station, there is clear evidence of the 1960’s platform extension. This station originally was a terminal stop; the extension to Brighton Beach was not built until 1917, 10 years after the first elevated/embankment segment of the Brighton line opened. Station has the usual 4 track, 2 island platform express configuration, 2 fare control areas, one at Sheepshead Bay with 2 stairs to each platform, and a Part time entrance at Voorhies Ave at the far south end, with 1 staircase.
The Voorhies Ave side has a booth that is open only during
weekday mornings, most other times during the day there is HEET
access. At both mezzanine areas, BMT fax style directional
mosaics tablets "To Manhattan" and "To Coney Island" were
present. Prior to the 1998 renovation, there was a small
passageway behind the Full time booth area that led to a
restaurant and small arcade of stores, it is now sealed. Outside
and to the east of the Voorhies Ave side entrance, there is a
pedestrian overpass running alongside the Manhattan-bound side
of the Brighton line, it only crosses the Belt Parkway towards
the opposite side. There seems to be some differences in Transit
of the pronunciation. Is it Sheep's Head (referring to a part of
a sheep) or Sheep Shed (A place to store sheep)?
"Starbats1096" gave your webmaster An interesting fact: "This
station, as well as the Sheepshead Bay area, is actually named
after a species of fish! It's pronounced "Sheep's Head", by the
way. I don't exactly remember why the fish was called that, but
apparently the heavy fishing of it had an influence on naming
the community. " Thank you "Starbats1096" for your answer!
Brighton Beach (Brighton Beach Ave between Brighton 7th and Brighton 5th Streets) Opened 4/22/1917: This is the final stop for B trains and has 4 tracks, 2 island platforms, and 2 fare control areas. Fulltime side is at Brighton 7th St at east side of station (due north), while Part time side is 24/7 HEET access and ghost booth. B trains use both express tracks for arrivals and departures, while Q local trans use the local tracks. An up escalators sits behind the north staircase at street level and appears to be installed in the 1960’s or early 70’s. Like, Sheepshead Bay, it was renovated in-house and has large retro look signs of “BRIGHTON BEACH” above the stairway entrances at street level. Artwork: “Mermaid/Dionysus And the Pirates” (1999) by Dan George, appears on the Manhattan-bound platform and is made of aluminum. It tells the story of Dionysus, an ancient mythical God who was captured by pirates. Dionysus breaks free and turns into other creatures, scaring the captors. They jump into the sea waters, transforming into dolphins in the process. Platform extends to the west (due south) and has a gentle curve. Just beyond this terminal station, lie 2 additional tracks that end at bumper block at Ocean Parkway station. Although this location is the only elevated section in the entire NYCT system to have 6 tracks, only 2 see active revenue use by Q trains. The other 4 tracks are used for storing B trains when necessary.
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Last revised 01/25/2011
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