Tuesday, March 3, 2009

F Train - Smith-9th Sts. (Day 5, stop #197)

OutThere’s a mix of buildings here, and the people around are a mix of black, Hispanic and white gentrifier.  The neighborhood is kind of the border between Carroll Gardens and Gowanus, and is a bit industrial (even though I know just a couple blocks away the neighborhood is really nice).  Outside the station I ran into Becca’s friend Mary Kate, who informs me that that “-Line Bagels” (see photo) on the corner used to be called “F-Line Bagels”, but the MTA made them remove the F train reference from their name.  

Also, the black wrapping around the concrete station supports (see photo) is necessary because large chunks of concrete were falling onto the street, threatening people and property.  She also enlightened me by saying that this is actually the highest station in the entire MTA system, which I believe to be true based on my empirical observations.  

The buildings around here are primarily three story row houses and some low-slung apartment buildings, with some in good shape and others not.  There’s also a Budget rental lot. I stopped into –Line Bagels for a Cinnamon Raisin with cream cheese.  Inside there were two dudes trying to get up in the business of some cute Asian girl.  They were trying to pay for her bagel, but it was actually mine that was at register; I joked that they could pay for mine.  When he said he didn’t want to pay for me, just for her, I asked if it was because I didn’t look good enough.  This was enough to intervene to get her out of the situation (my mitzvah of the day). 

In: This station is elevated, and is quite high above the street level and the Gowanus Canal below.  Achieving this height actually comes quite quickly, as Carroll St. is still underground.  The walls are concrete, and from the platform I can see the large green metalwork that comprise the bridge over the Canal.  From the middle of the station, there is a great view of the Manhattan skyline, but there is a uniformed cop here and I don’t want to raise any suspicions so I keep the camera in the bag.  To get down to the street and booth, I have to take two very long escalators.  In general, the station is in really bad condition (especially the stairs leading up to the platform), but it’s also pretty unique.  The layout is two platform, four track, with two of the tracks for express bypass even though no express train currently runs on this line.  The G train also stops at the front of the platform.