Thursday, May 7, 2009

B/C Trains - 81 St.-Museum of Natural History (Extra Days, stop #458)

Out:  The exit here is at the south side of 81st St., close to CPW.  The intersection is, not surprisingly, dominated by the museum here, even if the view is a bit blocked by trees.  

There are large high-rise apartment complexes along 81st St. in all of their pre-war splendor.  There is a particularly grand building on the corner of CPW undergoing renovations.  

At the crosstown route across the park here there is the “Hunter’s Gate”.  

The people outside are similar to 86th, with perhaps more tourists and kids, still definitely mostly white, but a few black and Hispanic here.  Also there are still no commercial spots here.

In:  The layout of the station is similar to previous stops, but there are a number of interesting features here.  The station entrance itself is unusually wide (essential the width of two typical staircases), as is the tree-lined sidewalk into which it emerges on 81st St.  On the staircases and on the mezzanine there are elaborate mosaic tile murals of birds, insects, and other scientific specimens.  The floor is decorated with other tiles and the station is clean and in good shape.  The walls of the upper platform are still covered in tile pictures of animals, and there are no advertisements on the walls.  The staircase to the lower level is decorated with a large tile picture simulating the layers of the earth; the core is located at the bottom of the stairs.  

The walls downstairs have relief metal inlays of fossils.  There are also some mosaic tile station signs with “81st St.-Museum of Natural History” on a blue tile background.  Definitely a great station!