Offbeat

The Subways of New York

As a native New Yorker, I can honestly say that there is no other place like it on the face of the earth. The same can be said for its subways, both the ones utilized every day by busy commuters and those along the almost forgotten path of New York’s five boroughs. Other cities may boast of spotless subterranean subways and perhaps they are right, but nowhere are subways, with their outdated signs and doorways to nowhere, more interesting than those found in the Big Apple. Why not come along for the ride?

Get a load of this picture of the Tremont Avenue Station on the Bronx concourse line. Although it has been painted over again since this picture was shot, all the many colors just may be all the layers of paint since the station opened in 1932.

There is only one station in New York where the subway ingress is a hotel’s entrance as well. The location is the Hotel St. George on Clark Street in Brooklyn, a colorful spot whose swimming pool was used in several movies; The Godfather in the 1970s and  the film noir 1940s classic, I Wake Up Screaming which starred Betty Grable and Victor Mature.

The image below is from one of the original 28 IRT stations and this is the only remaining original street sign. Even with that, it is only visible when the when newsstand is open. It can be seen at 23rd Street on the downtown platform of the #6 train.

Multi-tasking, playing games and taking care of other business can be done at the subway. Consider the bank windows inside the subway in a passageway to transfer from the 2 & 3 trains to the R and W trains. These can be found in the basement of a building that currently houses a branch of TD Bank at Court & Montague Streets in Brooklyn Heights. If your muse is directing you towards a game of bingo while waiting for that special train, check out this bingo hall that can be reached directly from the subway at the 181st Street Station on the 1 line.

It would seem that those with good intentions created subway entrances in the Big Apple, but you know what they say about that proverbial road to hell and what it is paved with, don’t you?  It would seem that some subway planners must have had convenience on their minds when they built entrances in department store basements and drug stores, but something else when they placed them in liquor store lobbies, and until recently, saloons as well.

They say there are at least 8 million stories in the naked city known as the Big Apple, but there are probably 8 million and ten about the New York subway system!

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