Thursday, April 30, 2009

7 Train - 74 St.-Broadway (Day 7, stop #300)

Out:  Now I’m in Little India!  I love how rapidly that transition comes along. Ah, Queens.  Now almost everyone here is South Asian and most of the stores are South Asian-themed (at least on the North side of Roosevelt).  

The nearby housing is mostly small apartments, but this stretch is very commercial, even off of Roosevelt.  There are still lots of families out and about.  It seems the people are a mix of Hindu and Muslim.  There are also some scattered East Asian, white, and Hispanic people around, but not too many.
In:  This station looks newer than others on the 7 in Queens.  The layout is again two platform, three track with express bypass.  There are small green metal columns on the platform, and new white paneling with green borders on the side walls which extend the length of the platform.  There are translucent windows off the platform made of colored glass.  There is also decorated glass near the exits and in the stairwells.  There is a large mezzanine with a concrete floor and relatively new paint job.  The stairs down to the street are in better shape than usual, too.

7 Train - 82 St.-Jackson Heights (Day 7, stop #299)

Out:  The street scene is very similar to 90 St. as well, with many small businesses around.  The area is still mostly Hispanic, but some South Asian influence is creeping in, along with a few whites here. 

The housing looks like a mix of small apartment buildings and tenements.  There are lots of families out again, and the area looks a little more upscale than the previous stops. 

In:  The stop here is similar to 90 St., but with green columns and an enormous “82” in six-foot-tall metal letters on the platform wall.

7 Train - 90 St.-Elmhurst Ave. (Day 7, stop #298)

Out:  Here there is a three-street intersection, so the feeling outside the stop is a little more open than usual.  The area is still definitely Hispanic, and there are Ecuadorian food stands right near the stop (see photo); smells tempting.  Employment and immigration establishments abound over here, and there is also another truck from Medanzas.  

There’s also a Bangladeshi grocery here.  The streets here are pretty busy at this time.  The housing is primarily tenement-style, in brick.  On my way back into the train I bought an elote from the Ecuadorian food stand; this is an enormous ear of corn that’s been slathered with butter, cream, and cheese.  It’s so rich I can only eat a quarter of it before tossing it…but it definitely tasted good!

In:  Similar to 103 St., but with red columns and a wider platform.

7 Train - Junction Blvd. (Day 7, stop #297)

Out:  Here the air is thick with the smell of fish and other goodies being cooked up nearby.  There are small groceries, delis, restaurants, and lots other stores on Roosevelt.  There are families walking around together on this Friday afternoon, and the houses are still pretty small-scale.  

The area is mostly Hispanic, but I’m not sure which (if any) country predominates here.  There is also some mixing of other ethnicities.

In:  Here there are two narrow platforms and three tracks with local and express access; this setup has no walls on the platform so there’s a good view.  Narrow green columns support a sloped wooden roof.  On the mezzanine there are wooden walls painted white and brick floors.  There is an interesting elevator overpass with green metal and wavy, thick glass.  The paint is peeling on the exit stairs.

7 Train - 103 St.-Corona Plaza (Day 7, stop #296)

Out:  There is a small grassy area outside the station; maybe this counts as Corona Plaza? If so, though, it’s kind of pitiful.  There are lots of small stores around here, including electronics, nails, and pharmacies.  The area is still predominantly Hispanic, but there are some more Asians and other ethnicities than at 111 St.  The housing here is primarily small apartment buildings.  

There are lots of trucks with the “Medanzas” logo parked on the block under the El.  The road is stripped of asphalt to do some construction work, but the effect adds to the 3rd-world feel in this part of Queens.
In:  There is a short railing and a good view covering about half the platform length here.  The paint job and green metal columns are in better shape than 111 St., but otherwise similar.

7 Train - 111 St. (Day 7, stop #295)

Out:  This neighborhood looks a bit rough, and there are some shady looking characters hanging out near the stop.  Near the stop there’s a Mexican restaurant, and Roosevelt Ave. has a lot of small stores under the tracks, including restaurants, a coffee house, deli, C-town, and cheap furniture store.  The area is mostly residential down the side streets, though, with a mix of tenements and row houses, but despite its residential nature it doesn’t look particularly calm or pleasant.  It seems to be almost all Hispanic here.

In:  This station looks old, with a small mezzanine, peeling paint, and off-white metal panels on the platform walls.  There are blue metal columns on the platform.  The setup here is two platform, three track with small dividers between tracks.  The station is pretty crappy overall, and I can see over the short railings at the end of the platform.

7 Train - Willets Pt.-Shea Stadium (Day 7, stop #294)

Out:  There’s a Mets game going on tonight!  There are many people exiting to go to the game at Shea, which is right next to the stop.  The new Citi Field is also under construction right next to the existing stadium.  

There are some business in the distance, on the path from the 7 to Shea.  There is also a long wooden boardwalk over to Arthur Ashe Stadium and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, as well as the LIRR station.  

There really isn’t any residential building next to the stop, just the park, and it’s hard to tell who (if anyone) lives around here.

In:  This station is elevated again.  There are extra large exits available, with turnstile control but monitored by guards, to accommodate crowds here for Mets games and the U.S. Open.  There is an unusual three track, three platform setup with train access at many points, to both local and express, to accommodate large crowds of people.  The panels on the side walls are grey, and there are green metal columns on the platform.  There are very long concrete ramps for access to the Manhattan-bound track.

7 Train - Main St.-Flushing (Day 7, stop #293)

Out:  This is a very busy intersection here at the corner of Roosevelt and Main St.  There are lots of businesses, many with signs in Chinese.  Asians definitely dominate here, but there are a fair number of Hispanics as well.  

I can hear a lot of Chinese being spoken on the streets.  The housing is mostly tenements with some smaller brick apartments.  Being in Flushing, I felt the need to eat a Chinese bakery; this time I got a red bean bun that was pretty good.

In:  The station here is underground again.  There are white tiles on the walls, and a two platform, three track layout for the end of the local and express lines on the 7.  The tiles on the wall look pretty new, and there are tile mosaics on the mezzanine.  The lighting is good, but the station is crowded! It’s 5:20 p.m., so the afternoon rush is in full effect.  I took the train to the last stop here to travel against rush hour when hitting the other 7 stops.

7 Train - 69 St.-Fisk Ave. (Day 7, stop #292)

Out:  The area seems a bit more Middle Eastern here, and there is a Colombian flag flying and  Paraguayan/Urugruayan restaurant as well. 

There are some signs in Chinese, and many in Spanish.  The area again seems predominantly Spanish but with a healthy mix of many ethnicities.  

The housing here is lower scale, with fewer tenements and more row houses in brick along with other low-slung buildings.  The area looks residential with a very Latin American feel to it.

In:  Similar to 52 St., with a railing at the platform end to see over the side.

7 Train - 61 St.-Woodside (Day 7, stop #291)

Out:  This seems like a pretty big intersection, dominated by both the 7 and LIRR tracks overhead which loom over the sidewalks.  This underpass feeling makes the intersection kind of dark and dirty, but overall things feel pretty middle class as well.  

There are diners, delis, a wine & liquor store, and a dunkin’ donuts.  The housing is still mostly tenements in brown brick.  The area seems predominantly Hispanic, but there are plenty of Asians and many others.

In:  This station is highly elevated with lots of stairs to reach to street level.  The mezzanine is very wide, with a waiting area both for the 7 and the LIRR which is also accessible here through a direct tunnel to the tracks.  The layout of the 7 is two platform, three track, with access to the local and express and no walls on the platform side.  There are small metal green columns which support a sloped roof over the platform.

7 Train - 52 St.-Lincoln Ave. (Day 7, stop #290)

Out:  This area has an interesting mix of businesses, including a Korean barbershop, a Costa Rican hair cut place, a tire store, a florist, and a fruit stand.  The housing is mostly tenements.

The area seems primarily Hispanic with some white, Asian, and Middle Eastern.  This area looks pretty residential, quiet, and middle class.

In:  This station has same three track layout as the previous stations.  The side walls are covered in white ridged panels and there is plenty of peeling paint.  This station is more similar to 45 Rd.

7 Train - 46 St.-Bliss St. (Day 7, stop #289)

The area here seems busier than the previous stops in Queens on the 7.  There are more businesses on Queens Blvd, but the side streets seem more densely residential.  

There is also the main shopping drag of Sunnyside, including delis, T-mobile store, plenty of restaurants and fast food.  There’s even a Starbucks here.  The area still seems mixed between Hispanic, Asian, and white.  The housing is mostly non-descript large brick tenements.

In:  Similar to 40 St.

7 Train - 40 St.-Lowery St. (Day 7, stop #288)

Out:  The area near this stop is now more residential and less industrial.  There are more apartment buildings in brown brick, as well as more restaurants and other commercial establishments.  There’s also a deli, coffee shop, florist, and “Asian fusion cuisine”.  

Yet despite this last place, it doesn’t really seem like this area is gentrifying, but is just a safe family neighborhood.  The area looks like a mix between Hispanic, white, Asian, and Middle Eastern.  There is also a Korean restaurant and an old-school Irish restaurant.

In:  Similar to 33 St., but in worse condition with more dirt and graffiti.

7 Train - 33 St.-Rawson St. (Day 7, stop #287)

Out:  The exit here is in the middle of Queens Blvd.  There are large concrete archways supporting the elevated train here.  

The area here is pretty empty; there are mostly factories and some small offices.  There is plenty of traffic on Q.B., and there are a couple of small restaurants, delis, an Avon building, and not much else besides some industrial-type buildings.  

I can’t really tell who lives around here.  MoMA QNS is nearby - this was the home of all of MoMA when it was undergoing renovations a couple years ago.

In:  On the way over, the train passes by the NJ Transit yards.  The station itself is quite interesting; the platform walls are concrete painted white, with green metal frames and thick wavy glass windows.  There is also some stained glass here.  The station house has white tiles and stained glass; it’s also pretty big for an elevated station. There is a small area to see over the side of the platform.  The layout is two platform, three track for one-way express bypass.

7 Train - Queensboro Plaza (Day 7, stop #286)

Out:  This area now seems mostly black and Hispanic, which is a bit of a transition, but there are still some white people around as well as various office workers.  

On the street level, the approaches to the Queensboro Bridge as well as the elevated train tracks dominate.  

There are some small businesses, factories converted into apartments, and functioning factories/warehouses in the immediate vicinity.  

There’s also a gentleman’s club nearby, some new condos going up, and a building that belongs to MetLife.  Surprisingly, there really are not that many people around in an area which I assumed would be pretty busy on a work day.

In:  This station has two levels as both the 7 and N/W lines converge here.  The upper level is for the outbound trains further into Queens, while the lower level is for Manhattan-bound trains.  On the top level there is a single platform with two tracks, one to Flushing and one to Astoria.  There is no wall here so there’s a good view off the side; it’s possible to see into Manhattan as well as the surrounding factories, old apartments, and new condos.  The lower level ha sa view through the windows, and otherwise the walls are grey metal.  There isn’t as much light on this level.  There are interesting high-backed wood-slat benches for seating on the platform.  There is some mosaic tiling on the mezzanine, and long walkways to cross over the street underneath and finally exit the station; in order to get to the street, I walk through a small shopping center at the end of the walkway.

7 Train - 45 Rd.-Court House Sq. (Day 7, stop #285)

Out:  The architecture here is still very low-slung.  There are old factories and small apartments.  

The station is next to P.S.1 and close to the huge Citi Tower, which is really the only skyscraper anywhere near here.  

There are brick row houses on the tree-lined side streets, and they look to be in good condition.  

The people around seem to be a mix of white and Hispanic.  Nearby there’s a restaurant, a diner, sign store, a video store, pizza place, and taxi academy.  

There is a bit of gentrification going on over here.

In:  The station here is now elevated.  There’s a great view of the Manhattan skyline on the ride over, as well as lots of graffiti on the buildings nearby (I actually think this elaborate graffiti is sanctioned and allowed over here).  In the station, there are white ridged walls with narrow metal columns.  The platform is pretty wide.  The walls extend the length of the platform so I can’t see over the side.  The mezzanine is concrete-floored.