MTA restores historic Bronx subway station

Posted on March 19, 2013

MTA photo - Patrick Cashin
MTA photo - Patrick Cashin
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) rededicated its East 180th Street subway station on March 15th after a major restoration of the century-old North Bronx transit terminal.

The two-year, $66.5 million project breathed new life into the unique subway station that serves the 2 and 5 lines a link to two major Bronx attractions — the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Gardens. Designed and built during a period when riding the rails was a grand experience rather than bookends to a work day, the structure is an example of early 20th Century architectural design that has long stood as a community landmark.

The stucco, red terra cotta-tiled roof building boasts a pair of four-story towers, entry courtyard and a clock, which replicates the original timepiece in place when the structure was built. The building was designed with arches and balconies that give it the distinct look of an Italian villa.

“The subject of this project serves to demonstrate the architectural variety of the New York City subway system and the care and effort that goes into maintaining the system and restoring elements to their original appearance,” said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast. “The East 180th Street Station was built to a grand design by its original operator and we have taken the opportunity to return it to as close to its original condition as possible.”

Work on the station required restoration of the landmark building’s exterior walls, windows, stucco work, roof tiles wood doors and mezzanine areas. Of course, this type of work required skilled craftspeople. There are two retail spaces in the station’s lobby, as well as NYC Transit employee facilities for Rapid Transit Operations, Signals and Structures.

The elevated subway platforms have similarly been rehabilitated, including new platforms, edge safety tiles, canopies and track beds. ADA compliance is achieved through a new pathway that allows wheelchair access and the installation of two elevators that link the mezzanine to the platforms.

New tile work and ornamental mosaic bands and panels have been installed. Designed by artist Luisa Caldwell under the MTA Arts for Transit program, the panels reflect the surrounding area and the nearby Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Gardens.

The northern segment of the 5 train, known as the Dyre Avenue Line of the New York City subway system, was once part of an electrified commuter railway connecting the South Bronx with White Plains and Port Chester in Westchester County.

Owned by the New Haven Railroad, the New York Westchester and Boston Railway were short-lived, in service only between 1912 and 1937.  New York City took ownership of the Bronx portion of the line in 1940 and tied into the IRT at East 180th Street.

RELATED ARTICLE: Check out, "Transit Art Optimizes Form and Function."

MTA - Patrick Cashin
MTA - Patrick Cashin

MTA - Patrick Cashin
MTA - Patrick Cashin
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