Wednesday, March 4, 2009

D/N Trains - 36 St. (Day 5, stop #226)

Out:  This part of Sunset Park is definitely very Hispanic, with comida criolla, a deli, and check cashing spot (I didn’t see that in Borough Park).  There are still a couple of Asians around, though.  

The buildings nearby are mostly row houses, with some variety in styles.  There is an open lot filled with plants next to the stop, so it gives the immediate surroundings a more open feel.

In:  This station is now back underground.  The layout is one platform, with two tracks with local and express access (there is also a downtown track with the same layout, separated by a wall).  The walls are covered with white tiles, the floor is grey tiled, and there is mosaic tiling at the top border of the wall in brown and green.  It’s hard to read the tiling as the lighting is pretty dim.  There are yellow metal columns by the platform edge.  Some of the white tiles look pretty new, but many others are old and stained.  The back of the platform, however, has a higher ceiling and is better lit.  On the mezzanine there are some interesting murals of subway riders and workers.

D Train - 9 Ave. (Day 5, stop #225)

Out:  This intersection of 9 Av. and New Utrecht Ave. is pretty minor, and the main feature is that it overlooks some type of train yards right here.  The neighborhood here is pretty much all Hispanic with some black, and I don’t see any Orthodox any more.  Greenwood Cemetery is ~1 block away, as well as a more commercial strip.  

The housing in the area seems to be mostly row houses with some small apartment buildings. There is a sweet food cart here but unfortunately I'm not hungry at the moment.

In:  The station house itself is well-maintained on the exterior.

The track here is at slightly below street level, and I need to walk up to exit.  The station house is small and it smells bad; but it probably was pretty nice at some point in the past.  The layout is two platform, three track with express track access.  There are green metal columns on the platform supporting a peaked roof.

D Train - Ft. Hamilton Parkway (Day 5, stop #224)

Out:  There is also lots of graffiti outside the station as well, and the streets look dirtier.  The neighborhood still has some Orthodox around, but definitely more black people here than previous stops, and still a few Asians as well as some Hispanic.  There is a martial arts place and a Curves work out spot near the stop, along with a deli.  

The houses/apartments are not in as good shape as in the other neighborhoods.  

This high school was pretty impressive, though.  

In:  Station looks pretty bad, with paint peeling severely in many places.  The exit to Ft. Hamilton Pkwy is closed, so I exit at 45 St. & New Utrecht Ave.  There’s lots of graffiti near the exit.  The mezzanine is concrete-floored, and the station house has ugly yellow tiles with lots of stains.

D Train - 50 St. (Day 5, stop #223)

Out:  Still lots of Orthodox out on the streets here in Borough Park.  There are also some more blacks and Hispanics around as well, and only a few Asians.  Many stores have signs in Yiddish here.  I see a number of people running in for some last-minute Shabbat goods at an upscale-looking, new Kosher market on the corner here.  

There's also a maternity store nearby (you know there’s a lot of babies being produced around here).  Besides that there are other typical services for a middle-class neighborhood, such as a deli, law office, architects office, a car service, etc.

In:  The layout here is two platform, three track with express bypass.  The green metal columns and roof over the platform are in OK condition, and I can see over the side where the awning ends. The mezzanine is concrete floored.

D Train - 55 St. (Day 5, stop #222)

Out:  There are lots of Orthodox Jews out and about getting ready for Shabbat (it’s Friday afternoon now).  There are also some South Asians and some Hispanics, but it’s mostly Orthodox.  There are Polish and Hungarian stores around, as well as a Kosher deli right by the train stop.  

The housing here is mostly small houses and some small apartment buildings.

In:  The station has a curved platform and a long railing giving a good view over the side.  The mezzanine is made of concrete.

D Train - 62 St. (Day 5, stop #221)

Out:  There is a big parking lot directly outside the station house, which is at street level; it says it’s for MTA employees but at this point it’s very sparsely occupied. 
Directly across the street from the station there’s a junk car lot.  

Not too many people around, but the neighborhood seems mixed between asian and white, with perhaps some middle eastern presence.  Nearby there is a run-down looking Jewish temple along with a used car place.  The station house once had some type of tiling on the outside, but now it’s falling apart.

In:  Two platform, three track layout with access to the middle track for the express.  There is also a transfer available to the N train here which runs underground.  The walkway to the station house has wooden flooring, and everything is generally in OK condition.

D Train - 71 St. (Day 5, stop #220)

Out:  This area continues to be very residential.  Ethnically, it remains a  mix of Chinese, Hispanic, and white.  There’s a deli, a playground, and a bank nearby.  The side streets are narrow here with two-story brick houses.

In:  Here the layout is similar to the previous D stops, but the station is in somewhat worse condition, with more peeling paint.  The woods stairs and the area outside the mezzanine have wood flooring, but the area near the booth has a concrete floor.  The area by the booth is not too cramped, but not spacious either.  There is little room to look over the platform edge, but there is some graffiti on the platform wall; I’ve found this to be surprisingly rare.  From the platform I can see these two guys getting some respite from the sun under a rooftop cooling unit.

D Train - 79 St. (Day 5, stop #219)

Out:  At corner of New Utrecht Ave., in the Dyker Heights neighborhood, supposedly.  There are quite a few shops around here, but not too many people on the street.  There’s a football/soccer field nearby.  I was a little curious about this Arteres Shlomo place; is it a temple or a restaurant?

 The people I do see are a mix of Chinese, Hispanic, and white, and I see one woman in a head scarf.  The residences are mostly multi-family houses, with some apartment buildings around.  Again, overall this area is quite residential.

In:  Similar to 18 Ave., but less space to see over the side.  Also the part without paneling has a wire mesh here.

D Train - 18 Ave. (Day 5, stop #218)

Out:  Tellingly, 18 Ave. has also been branded as “Cristoforo Colombo Blvd.”, at least for this stretch near New Utrecht Ave.  The first thing I notice here is some guy with an iced coffee wearing a Utili-kilt.  Hmm.  Otherwise there are a number of shops and row houses, and the “BP’s Toys” is on the corner.  Here are a few of the window residents at the toy shop.

There was another colorful mural in memory of a neighborhood resident.

The houses are mostly siding, with some brick.  The area looks predominantly white, probably Italian.  There are also some Asian and Hispanic people around as well.  Overall though the neighborhood looks pretty residential, without too much happening.  

In:  Similar to 20 Ave., but now half of the platform is open railing with a view over the side.  When I’m waiting for the train to leave, I actually saw a few hipsters here, which was a little surprising.

D Train - 20 Ave. (Day 5, stop #217)

Out:  This intersection features an old stone bank building converted to “London Shoes” and a Rite-Aid.  

There are some single-family houses and some apartment buildings.  

The ethnic mix is pretty similar to Bay Pkwy.  There’s a Chinese guy selling fake gear on the sidewalk near the station, and there are plenty of families out.  This area also looks quite residential.

In:  The platform and mezzanine here all have wood flooring, as well as the stairs leading up from the street.  

The station seems fairly similar to 25 Ave. otherwise, but the metal paneling runs the entire length of the platform so I can’t see over the side. 

D Train - Bay Parkway (Day 5, stop #216)

Out:  The people here seem to be a mix of white, Russian, Italian, and Chinese.  There are Chinatown-esque smells on the street, and every store has a large outdoor display which takes up most of the sidewalk.  Quite the bustling market here.  

There are a couple of kids riding bikes with fishing poles strapped to them; maybe they actually go down to the bay to fish?  The corner of Bay Pkwy is very busy with lots of people out and about.  The housing seems to be mostly single- or multi-family houses, with some apartment buildings.

In:  Layout here is two platform, three track with access to the express track.  There are no walls here on the platform so there’s a good view over the side.  The roof on the platform is in good condition.  The mezzanine looks pretty crappy with worn yellow tiling.

D Train - 25 Ave. (Day 5, stop #215)

Out:  There are Chinese and Italian stores, signs in Russian, low-slung houses, a Chinese supermarket and an Italian bakery.  

Not surprisingly, given the businesses, there are lots of Asians around as well as many white people.  There are also a few nail places; overall, though, it look quite residential over here.  

I walked up to Pho Hay To for lunch, as I heard this place was supposed to have some good pho.  On the way I saw lots of people out with their kids.  The sidewalks here are really wide, and the stores are set back quite far from the streets and are not directly in the shadows of the elevated tracks.  I eventually found the restaurant (see photo), which seems to be the only Vietnamese place around here; definitely not a “Little Saigon” by any means.  The pho ends up tasting quite good, but it’s not clear if the place is run by Viet or Chinese people…could be a little suspicious.

In: Similar to Bay 50 St., it looks to be in pretty decent shape and the awning covers most of the length of the platform.

D Train - Bay 50 St. (Day 5, stop #214)

Out: The neighborhood here is a little downsclae, and the people outside a mix of Asian, Russian and black from what I can see. The streets are kind of dirty, and there is a big green space adjacent to the station.

I can see where the Q tracks branch off from the D, relatively close to the station. There isn’t too much right next to the stop except for a tailoring place and some row houses.

In: On the ride over, I cross the narrow little gully that serves to separate Coney Island from the main part of Brooklyn. It’s pretty pitiful, really. This station is now back to the typical elevated style. The station walls have metal ridged paneling in off white. The roof looks to be in decent shape, too, and is supported by small metal columns. The layout is three track, two platform, with express bypass. Off the far end of the platform I can see over the side. On the platform I see a couple of weird things, such as when some teenagers hit a guy with a pair of sunglasses, and a Chinese guy speaking English in a fake-sounding accent (even though it’s probably real). The mezzanine and stairs are made of wood, and the station house is small and cramped.

D/F/N/Q Trains - Coney Island-Stillwell Ave. (Day 5, stop #213)

Out:  Entrance is near corner of Stillwell Ave. and Surf Ave.  Outside there are some signs in Russian/Ukranian.  On the N. side of Surf Ave. there are furniture places, food stands, and an auto dealer.  

On the S. side there are all the Coney-Island related attractions, from the amusement park to Nathan’s to the Freak Shows.

In:  This is probably the most impressive station in the entire MTA system.  There is a huge mezzanine with attached shops, tile floors, glass walls, lots of ramps and stairs leading to various platforms.  

This station serves as the terminus for four different trains, many of them lined up, each of which can occupy a different set of tracks.  The station is open to the outdoors, but a graceful arching glass roof is ~100 feet up and is supported by white metalwork and green columns on the platform.  The lines and contours of the roof are quite striking and provide a good contrast and complement to all the trains in the station.  There is plenty of daylight streaming in as well, which adds to the effect.

F Train - W. 8 St.-NY Aquarium (Day 5, stop #212)

Out:  There are crowds of kids on their way to either see the Aquarium or the amusement park at Coney Island.  

The area is crowded, with plenty of people of all backgrounds.  I walked down to the Boardwalk, and I can see there are tourists with cameras, and some look wealthy while some do not.  

It’s Friday during the summer, so all the food stalls are open as well as the amusement park.  It’s a beautiful day today, and the breeze off the ocean is preventing it from getting too hot over here.

In:  New-looking, dual level station with Q tracks on top of the F track.  The two platforms are facing each other, and there is lots of natural light in the station.  The station is newly renovated, and all the walls of the station are covered in green paneling; I get the feeling of being in a big green box.  The outside of the station is covered in green curvy countours and lines, which is apparently meant to evoke a roller coaster (see Photo).

F Train - Neptune Ave. (Day 5, stop #211)

Out:  Leafy green and quiet, right in the middle of some big apartment buildings/projects.  The neighborhood here seems pretty Russian, with maybe some Italian.  There are some stores about one block away, which actually resemble a strip mall; definitely haven’t seen too many of those.  There are some elderly folk hobbling around here.  I go over to the CVS in the strip mall to pick up a new notebook, and I notice that this is now part of Brighton Beach, which explains the Russian feel.  There are not really any individual houses here, just these big apartment blocks.

In:  Here the station house is actually renovated, with some new paneling and green and burgundy trim on the stairways.  The layout here is a single platform with tracks in both directions.  There is one column in the middle of the platform supporting the sloped roof, which covers most of the platform.  The platform itself is not renovated and there is no artwork.  There are no walls, so there’s a good view off the edge of the platform.  I can see the Verrazano in the distance as well as midtown Manhattan.

F Train - Ave. X (Day 5, stop #210)

Out:  Still Gravesend.  One side of the street has a factory and car wash, while the other has small shops and a bar.  There aren’t too many houses right here, but the people around seem to indicate a mix of European, Hispanic, and Asian.  There is actually a sushi place by the stop here.  I walked over to W. 3rd St., and the neighborhood definitely looks very residential.  

I saw old Italian guys in wifebeaters hanging outside the Memorial Home, as well as grizzled old dudes outside the OTB.  There are also some signs and newspapers in Russian.  Someone had fond memories for Frankie Bones.

In:  Similar to Ave. I.

F Train - Ave. U (Day 5, stop #209)

Out:  Here in Gravesend(?) there is definitely a lot more Italian stuff, even if the people around do not look too obviously Italian.  

There are also a bunch of nail places.  The people I do see seem to be a mix of Hispanic, Orthodox, and white.  The houses are primarily two-story and covered in brick or siding. 

There is a typical middle-class mix of stores, with a bank, pharmacy, etc.  Not that many apartment buildings around, and pretty residential.

In:  Similar to Ave. I.

F Train - King's Highway (Day 5, stop #208)

Out:  On McDonald Ave., the main places are still homewares/lighting/auto stuff.  On King’s Highway, there is the more typical mix of pizza places, delis, etc.  There is a Turkish(?) bakery, an Israeli variety store/video shop, as well as some banks here also.  

There are more black people around here than at previous stops, but there is still a good white/European presence as well.  Overall, the neighborhood still looks pretty middle-class.  

In:  Two platform, three track layout with express track access.  There are no walls here, so I get a good view of the surroundings, but there’s not really that much to see.  The station house has been recently painted and the booth area is not as cramped as at other stations.