New York City is not as dirty and rough around the edges as it once was, but it is still not what anyone would call a clean place. Often, nowhere is this more on display than inside the New York City Subway, where tracks, for many people, appear to be large garbage cans, and walls, stairs, and floors crumble or are covered in layers of filth.
But this spring, three stations on the R line in Brooklyn will be given a thorough spring cleaning—and infrastructural upgrades—as part of Governor Cuomo’s plan to transition 30 stations City-wide into safer, cleaner, and more modern places that look like they belong, in the very least case, to the 21st century (check out these official renderings, they look future-y and slick).
Starting next week, March 27th, the R Stop at 53rd Street in Sunset Park will shut down for six months of repairs and upgrades. This will be followed on April 29 with the closing of the R Bay Ridge station, and on June 5, with the Prospect Avenue R stop.
The six-month closings will include, according to a press release from the MTA, a lot of infrastructural and some cosmetic work: steel and concrete reinforcements, better platform edges (which, in their current state, regularly put the fear of god in me), waterproofing (just yesterday I took the equivalent of a nice little shower inside a G stop in Williamsburg), electrical and communication fixes (when was the last time you could understand the English words coming out of subway speakers?), fixes to track walls and floors, including fancy granite finishes (easier to clean!), stair improvements, glass barriers for station mezzanines (sounds kind of ominous), LED lights, and better signage—you know, to become places of today.
According to officials, closing theses stations completely for six months, rather than in shorter spurts, and with repairs undertaken by only one contractor, will save the city (and commuters) time and money. This is not dissimilar to the approach the MTA will take with the L Train, which is slated to shut down between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 months of repairs starting in 2019.
The interim director of the MTA, Ronnie Hakim, said in a statement, “These first three stations to be renovated represent the start of a new age for our subway system. By using the design-build method, we are putting the onus on one contractor to get the work done seamlessly and on time.” (In language elsewhere, these upgrades are also supposed to incorporate USB ports, in addition to the the WiFi installed at the start of the year in every New York City subway, and arrival countdown clocks, which have yet to be installed on lettered, as opposed to numbered lines.)
If you are among the unlucky many who use these R stations, here are your options: the R station at 4th Avenue, as well as the B37 and B63 bus on 3rd and 5th Avenues.
Welcome to a cleaner, better-lit and connected present, and commute, Brooklyn.
Rendering courtesy of the MTA