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Delancey Street/ Essex Street Complex

This complex serves the IND F trains as Delancey Street, with the BMT J trains within Essex Street. Like 59th Street/Columbus Circle and Broadway-Nassau/Fulton Street, the good folks of the IND made a transfer connection to the a competing company. This 3 tiered complex utilizes the BMT trains on the upper level running on Delancey Street, IND mezzanines at mid level, and finally the IND F trains at the lowest level, running on Essex Street. Recently, the complex was renovated by Cab Associates.

BMT Essex Street (On Delancey Street) Opened 7/4/1908 Station has 3 tracks on one side platform and one island platform. The side platform lies to the north and is exclusively for southbound travel (towards Broad Street). The island platform has the other 2 tracks; the middle track is now for northbound trains over the Williamsburg Bridge. The 3rd track is no longer is use, a recent track reconfiguration of the northbound track from Canal Street to south of Essex Street, now prohibits southbound travel because the of the new alignment of the northbound track. However this 3rd track can be used for special reroutes from the Chrystie Connection from Broadway-Lafayette station. The last time the special connection was used for revenue service was 1982 when weekend D service was diverted through a very strange route from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The Manhattan Bridge was in horrible shape and NY State DOT (at that time when they had partial control in rebuilding this bridge), requested the suspension of weekend subway service over this bridge for several weeks. To get from West 4th Street to DeKalb (which should take 11 minutes under normal operating conditions), D trains would switch over to the F line to West 4th Street. From there, D trains would run non-stop (I may recall that they never stopped at Broadway-Lafayette so riders would not think otherwise to get off and wait for another D) to DeKalb via this route: On F line, through Chrystie connection to Essex Street. There would be a quick crew change and D trains would head up over to the mouth of the Willy-B, relay back to Essex middle track for another crew change, then along the M line to DeKalb Ave and back to normal over the Brighton Line. See how far we have come in making G.O.s simpler? There are 2 different crossunders that can be used; both are via either F line platform.

The most interesting part of this complex is next to the island platform. To the south of the Williamsburg Bridge-bound side and island platform, are tracks and a long-closed trolley terminal. There are approx. 3 to 4 tracks against a wall, which were used for trolley service from 1908 to 1948, and traveled over the Williamsburg Bridge to different parts in Brooklyn (presumably the current bus routes that end at Williamsburg Bridge Plaza, were originally destined to the Essex St trolley terminal when the trolleys were operating.). The tunnel north of this station merges with the current BMT tunnel; however I do believe the trolley tracks used the adjacent roadway (Brooklyn-bound inner roadway). Joe Cunningham notes the tracks, deep inside this area are in very good condition and they can be used today, they form 8 semi-circle loops so trolleys can turn around and return back over the Williamsburg Bridge. Looking toward the barn from standing at the far north end of the island platform, I can see a wall that looks like the remains of part of the trolley terminal. The Essex Street Master Tower is inside the trolley barn area and right next to the now closed end track. The southbound side platform has a newly relocated full time booth, with easier access to both F line platforms downstairs from the downtown BMT platform; it has 2 street stairs and 1 escalator to north side of Delancey Street. Another full time booth is at platform level and is accessible from the S/B side platform. This booth has 2 staircases to the north side of Delancey Street. The new station name tablets on the southbound platform wall are faux BMT style, red background on white ESSEX letters, surrounded by a mix of blue, yellow, and purple borders. The E letter dots the tile band at the top of the wall. The attempt is to have a new look on the BMT station name tablets and mosaics; it is appealing for the eyes to see this.

IND Delancey Street (On Essex Street) Opened 1/1/1936 Station has 2 side platforms and 2 tracks, the exits are dead center of the platform on both sides, that lead to a F/T and P/T booth as well as transfers. The F/T booth is mentioned earlier, while the P/T booth is on the south side of Delancey Street and has 2 street stairs; either side allows crossovers to either IND platform. There used to be exits at both the north (Rivington Street) and south (Broome Street) ends. Twelve staircases, 6 on each side, which led to the Rivington and Broome Street exits, are removed at platform level. This also means that there are a minimum of 2 ghost booths in this area. Of all the street stairs removed over the years, only the staircase at the S/E corner of Rivington and Essex Streets remain, used only for storage and NYCT use only. The staircase is easily identifiable as it is right next to the rear of the Essex Street Market building. The tile band is purple with black borders, consistent with 2nd Ave, East Broadway and the faux tile band at York Street station. The tiles are all replaced to give the station, its "grand opening" appearance, attention to detail was done on the station name tablets as well. In a departure from the norm of recent restoration IND stations, every other column at platform level has a large "D" for the station name. There are 2 large wall sized pieces of artwork, one on each wall where the staircase exits and transfers are, and the artist for both glass mosaics is Ming Fay (2004). The Downtown side is titled "Shad Crossing" and details two giant shad fish "swimming", along with another wall mosaic of blue waters. In the late 19th century, these shad were found along the Hudson River when new immigrants came to New York, most of them settled on the Lower East side. The new staircase to the relocated F/T booth also has another painting of a shad wrapped around the bottom of the stairs. The Uptown side is titled "Delancey Orchard"; it has a cherry orchard tree mosaic, which symbolized the tree owned by the Delancey family in the 18th century. Along all staircases leading from the F line platforms to either fare control are miniature versions of these paintings. 

 Originally, Essex Street was the terminal for trains coming off the bridge and had one island platform and two side platforms joined at the South (closer to Broad Street) end. When service was extended to Chambers, the Broad Street side platform was retained, the island removed for a third track, a new island built and the side platform for trains to Marcy was removed. The wide area on  the bridge end of the Broad Street bound side platform remains a  mystery as to its use or intended use. (SOURCE: David S. Rogof)

The artwork is entitled Shad Crossing, Delancey Orchard and was installed in 2004. According to the MTA Web Site "...Ming Fay brings to the station the liveliness of thriving  marketplace overhead in this storied Lower East Side neighborhood. The artist extensively researched the neighborhood's history marketplace overhead in this storied Lower East Side neighborhood.  The images of Shad Crossing celebrate the return of the once abundant fish to New York and water as a metaphor for "crossing." Delancey Orchard is the mural on the Manhattan-bound platform on the Manhattan-bound platform, inspired by the prominent DeLancey family's eighteenth century farm,which stretched from the East River to the Hudson River. The farm's cherry orchard was located where Orchard Street stands and is memorialized with radiant cherry trees on the Brooklyn-bound platform. "



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 Last revised 01/31/2011

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