Astor Place 6
I got very excited by Astor Place, because of this:
At one point, ironwork entrance points like this were the norm on the Subway. Based on the Budapest metro, a domed roof indicated the entrance to the station, while skylights showed the exit. New York pragmatism saw them removed; land is far too valuable on Manhattan for such extravagances. Only here, at a large intersection, was it allowed to remain.
Except, it's a fake. It's a reproduction installed in a 1980s refurb. I didn't realise this until I read a book on the subway when I got back to England, and I was deeply disappointed. Never mind.
68th Street - Hunter College 6
A plaque says that Hunter College helped pay for the station's refurbishment. Presumably that's why they built these tables, for that refectory feel.
86th Street 4,5,6
Spring St 6
More time on the 6. I'm basically J. Lo.
Borough Hall 2,3 4,5
Most of New York's subway was built using cut and cover: the road was ripped up, tracks were laid in the hole, and the road was stuck down again as a lid on the top. It's cheaper and easier than tunneling, though it's much more inconvenient, and it helps if your city is made up of a lot of very long, very straight avenues. To cross the rivers, deeper tunnels were required, meaning that at Borough Hall we experienced something unusual on the system: an escalator.
Most of the city's stations are so shallow only a brief flight of steps are required, so when you get an escalator, it's a bit of a thrill. They've picked a very narrow design though. I wonder if the MTA didn't trust the famously caustic New Yorkers to stand on the right and let people by on the left.
High St - Brooklyn Bridge A,C
Bedford Avenue L
One interesting ("interesting") feature at Bedford Avenue is a large touchscreen, which relays service information, next train info, and, of course, adverts. I have to say, the MTA is terrible at providing info once you're down on the platform. Even something as simple as a next train indicator is a rarity, a real problem when different train services use the same tracks. They have been very slowly wheeling the indicators out, but there have been all sorts of problems with the system. Can I suggest they fly over to London and basically copy whatever the Tube does? No need for whizzy touchscreens, just a few LED lights would help.
Marcy Avenue - J M Z
An elevated subway train! If you're not thinking of The French Connection right now, then frankly, you're a better man than I. There used to be elevated trains in Manhattan, but they were unsurprisingly unpopular with the well-off residents and were either driven below ground or replaced with buses. In the outer boroughs, however, people were just grateful to get any trains, so they've stayed up in the air.
Up on platform level I was thrilled all over again. I felt very Noo Yawker.
Wall Street 2,3
I'll leave it at that for today. There are a couple more subway stations which deserve greater attention, plus some other New York transit related stuff, which I'll bore you with another day.