View Full Version : Reimagining A Hub - Jackson Heights Station

May 11th, 2003, 07:42 AM
Reimagining A Hub

By Robert Polner
Staff Writer

May 10, 2003, 3:58 PM EDT

It was voted the dirtiest subway stop in the city in December 2000 -- a swirl of grunge crisscrossed by 132,000 travelers a day.

"It's a mess," said Elizabeth Capellan, 18, of Long Island City, as she left the Roosevelt Avenue and 74th Street subway stop recently, heading for the business institute she attends in Jackson Heights.

But more than two years after commuters gave it a vote of no-confidence, in a Straphangers Campaign survey of the city's 15 busiest stations, the bustling Jackson Heights station is being transformed into a spacious, modern transit hub with some vintage touches.

"It will bring the community up," said Seymour Portes, Metropolitan Transportation Authority program manager for station rehabilitation, who said the renovation is one of the system's biggest projects. "It will be the jewel station for Queens."

Jackson Heights community activists, usually exacting about architectural aesthetics, are equally excited about the $150-million rehabilitation. Most aspects of the project will be accessible by May 2004.

"Instead of just another cog in a sprawling subway system, you will have the sense of arrival in a community that matters," said Jeffrey Saunders, chairman of the transportation department of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, an influential community organization. "Major aspects of the design are wonderful, almost fanciful."

Visually, the focal point will be the station's gateway facing southwest at Broadway and 74th Street, a translucent pavilion leading to an airy turnstile area with a large curving staircase.

This entryway will ease passage into the station and the adjacent bus depot, where commuters can transfer to buses to LaGuardia Airport and other local destinations. Several elevators from the street and within the station will ensure access for handicapped travelers.

Since more people transfer within the station than enter from the street on any given day, according to Portes, the main objective of the overhaul is to ease movement within the facility, one of the few in the system that allows tranfers between an underground stop and an elevated line:
On the elevated No. 7 train platform, all six stairwells are to be moved to make more room on the platform, officials say. They will also be widened. Currently, as any rider knows, stairwells clot with travelers and human bottlenecks form on the platform when train doors open during rush hour.

The No. 7 train platform's canopy over Roosevelt Avenue is to be renovated and lengthened so riders will no longer need to clump toward the center to stay dry when it rains.

The mezzanine to the 7 line, a porchlike area halfway down to 74th Street and the community's "Little India," is also being reconstructed. Some fare booths will be removed so they will no longer block commuters heading toward the turnstiles.

Gone, too, said Portes, will be the mazelike conditions in the larger below-ground concourse. This space will have better lighting, new porcelain tiling and flooring, and about 10 small shops.
The reconstruction is the first significant renovation in the long history of the station.

Sharp increases in usage, most recently in light of the borough's immigrant-fueled population surge and the citywide MetroCard discounts of the 1990s, fueled its reputation for dungeonlike squalor.

"It's shadowy, a bit chaotic," Jennifer Medina, 24, a social worker from Ridgewood, said as she exited the station the other day.

The disrepair is a drag on nonetheless rising real estate values, said broker Michael Carfagna. And it is challenging the determined efforts of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group to raise public expectations for the community's appearance.

When Assemb. Ivan Lafayette heard the MTA was planning to spend $46 million in the late 1990s to install four street-level station elevators for the disabled, he and then-Deputy Borough President Peter Magnani asked for a meeting and set in motion efforts to persuade the MTA to incorporate the handicapped access project into a major rehabilitation.

It didn't hurt their case, said Lafayette, a Democrat who has represented the area for 27 years, that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has veto power over MTA capital projects, or that Wall Street and the national economy were still going strong at the time.

The station's architect is Fox & Fowle of Manhattan, whose work includes designing a flagship tower for The New York Times in Times Square. Vollmer Associates, the engineering contractor, worked on the recent rehabilitation of the Seventh Avenue IRT stop at 42nd Street.

Once the Jackson Heights station's main construction is completed, the project calls for improvements to the remaining street entrances over the next year and a half, Portes said.

The Jackson Heights Beautification Group is seeking some changes. It wants room for a running display for historical photographs; less reliance on stainless steel for railings and paneling to cut down on glare, and air-conditioning throughout the station, rather than only in the entrance pavilion and the shops.

The MTA says discussions are continuing.

For now, the beautification group is anticipating the station's rebirth by planning to produce dozens of street placards describing historical details and architectural facets of the landmarked neighborhood, which has buildings dating back to the 1920s. These are slated for July. An array of other sprucing-up projects include discussions with a private property owner about creating a community park off 72nd Street and a plan to get merchants to bag the trash in city litter baskets before it overflows.

"The station's renovation is going to be significant," said Karatzas, the Jackson Heights historian. "It can only be an improvement, actually, considering that what it is replacing was nothing less than depressing."

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.


May 11th, 2003, 07:47 AM
Jackson Heights Once A 'Garden City'

By Robert Polner
Staff Writer

May 10, 2003, 4:03 PM EDT

Jackson Heights is now one of the most crowded and ethnically kaleidoscopic communities in the city. But its transit hub dates back to a time when, believe it or not, the area was sparsely populated.

In 1917, as modern development of Queens was just taking off, the No. 7 train on the elevated IRT Flushing line was extended from Corona to the quaint, well-to-do "garden city" of Jackson Heights, setting the stage for the neighborhood's growth.

The separate IND line, now carrying the E, F, V, G, and R trains, arrived more than a decade later. Jackson Heights developer Edward MacDougall -- politically, but not esthetically, the Donald Trump of his day -- knew the importance of convenient transportation from Manhattan and may have made his influence felt at the Board of Aldermen, writes Daniel Karatzas in his 1990 history, "Jackson Heights: A Garden in the City."

One piece of evidence for this is the odd route of the IND: To reach Jackson Heights, it makes a sharp turn away from its southeasterly track along Queens Boulevard, only to return to its original path. Thanks in part to MacDougall, the line would serve the then-wealthy community of Jackson Heights at the inconvenience of the more working-class, immigrant heart of the borough, influencing commuting and development patterns right up to the present day.

MacDougall built more than 80 garden apartment co-ops, among the country's first, along with distinctive homes and storefronts and even a now-defunct golf course and clubhouse. In the 1930s, the joint subway and bus station sported a streamlined look, an architectural style close to Art Deco. In 1941, a sign bearing the name Victor Moore Arcade was erected over the bus station. Moore was a short, chubby comedic character who performed in vaudeville shows, musicals and movies.

As the story goes, he won the property in a poker bet, and then built the bus station to help the community, long favored by vaudevillians like him because it was only a short trip to Times Square. The bus station that bore his name was taken down two years ago to make way for the current rehabilitation work. Much of the once privately owned "garden city" was designated a landmark district in the early 1990s. But the train station itself never lacked for public recognition. Six years before Moore's death in 1962, Alfred Hitchcock featured the station in "The Wrong Man" with Henry Fonda. (The "right man" was seen there.)

Yet Roosevelt Avenue, one of the few dual bus and subway hubs in the city, never got the kind of overhaul given similarly busy stations such as Jamaica and Flushing -- until now.

Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

March 8th, 2004, 02:42 PM
http://www.ny1.com/ny/TopStories/SubTopic/index.html?topicintid=1&subtopicintid=1&contentint id=37931

New Subway Entrance Opens In Queens

MARCH 08TH, 2004

Monday morning commuters are getting their first look at renovations to a major subway station in Jackson Heights, Queens.

The new main entrance at the station on Roosevelt Avenue – connects the E, F, V, G, R and 7 lines – was opened over the weekend.

The $132 million project, which began in 2002, will continue through next year. When it is finished, the station will include a covered bus terminal.

Some commuters were confused about the changes, but most were happy with the station's new look.

“I think it's great,” one straphanger said, “although it's a little inconvenient this morning, because I didn't know the entrance was going to be here. But it's looking good.”

“It's OK,” another commuter said, “but what I’m saying is it's a long time coming.”

About 42,000 people use the station daily, making it the second-busiest in Queens.

March 8th, 2004, 03:21 PM
Here's what the new bus terminal is replacing:

And here's an article on the area's archtecture:


March 30th, 2004, 08:45 AM
Construction progress at Jackson Heights Station.
View from Broadway and 75 St

September 18th, 2004, 12:51 AM
Installation of large, colorful panels over the SE-facing windows began today. They appear to change color as you walk by them. They look great!

July 8th, 2005, 11:25 AM
The new bus terminal opened yesterday.

July 15th, 2005, 05:02 PM
The Daily News
FARE DEAL FOR COMMUTERS. New Jackson Heights terminal open for biz
July 14, 2005

THE SECOND-BUSIEST transit hub in Queens just received a brand-new, modern bus terminal that offers protection from the weather and easy access to the Roosevelt Ave./74th St. subway station.

The Jackson Heights Bus Terminal replaced the old Victor Moore Arcade to serve the 41,000 commuters who pass through the station's turnstiles every day.

After more than four years of construction and a $3.3 million investment, Transit and local officials gathered yesterday to celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the improved depot.

"This is a great neighborhood, and it's nice to see an architecturally pleasing facility here," said Transportation Department Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

"Now," said New York City Transit president Lawrence Reuter, "traveling to this vibrant community or out to LaGuardia Airport will be more convenient."

The new terminal - part of a larger, $87 million rehabilitation project for the entire Roosevelt Ave./74th St. station - was funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city's Transportation Department and local elected officials.

It boasts solar panels to provide electricity, recyclable steel, ventilation and handicapped accessibility.

Without it, said state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights), "Commuters would have to brave the elements as they wait for their rides at curbsides."

Indeed, rain was pouring down yesterday as speakers made their remarks, trying to overcome the din of rumbling traffic and noisy subway trains that dominates the busy concourse.

The depot will serve riders of the Q19B, Q33 and Q47 buses, and is near stops for the Q45 and Q53 lines - all operated by the Triboro Coaching Corp. A glass door provides an easy link to the subway station and its E, F, G, R, V and 7 trains.

With 14 million commuters last year, this is the 16th-busiest station in the New York City transit system.

The bus depot, just east of the subway station, took the name Victor Moore Arcade in 1941, when B-movies and musicals performer Victor Moore built it after winning a wager (a poker bet, according to one version; a horse racing gamble, according to another).

The station, which belonged to another owner, was sold to the state before work started on the current project and then demolished to make room for the updated terminal.

"This new structure replaces a building which had outlived its useful life," Reuter said.

July 15th, 2005, 07:56 PM
Could someone post some pics of this station?

July 16th, 2005, 01:49 PM
Are we allowed to take pictures of subway stations anymore? :)

The station is infinitely nicer than it used to be, although it's still not quite done yet...

April 17th, 2007, 03:50 PM
When will it finally be finished? They sure are taking their time...

April 18th, 2007, 11:34 AM
Everything has been finished for a while, except for the various retail spaces. I've also been wondering about this. There were several businesses in the station before the renovation (including a newsstand and a florist) that could be viable once again. Perhaps MTA's asking rents are too high. In any case, I imagine that finishing the interior of the retail spaces could become the responsibility of whoever leases them.

June 29th, 2009, 12:38 AM
First post:

There is now a Bank of America ATM and a small music store.