Home View from Underground Checking out the new floor

Checking out the new floor

by Benjamin Kabak

Yesterday, a few hours after writing about the experimental floors NYC Transit has installed an in effort to keep their stations cleaner, I found myself in the Chambers St. area with my camera in tow. I ventured to the mezzanine — missing my 2 train in the process — and snapped a few pictures. I couldn’t get a wider panoramic view of the platform, but I took some close ups of the new material and got a shot of a gummy old square of concrete. Click the images to enlarge.

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rhywun February 3, 2009 - 4:00 pm

Wow, that’s quite… blue. Looks like the floor of a 70’s rec room.

Max February 3, 2009 - 5:17 pm

It would look fine if it were a duller color, like gray. I still like the black matte material the Paris Métro uses on their floors.

herenthere February 3, 2009 - 5:24 pm

Yeah, I’m wondering why they didn’t stick with the black flooring they use on the newer trains (someone pointed out the reason for that color was b/c it hid dirt) although during the winter, the salt+slush really makes it look dirty.


StationStops February 3, 2009 - 10:19 pm

This is the same dirt-hiding pattern featured on the floors of the new M6 Metro-North cars being installed on the New Haven Line later this year.

Except its a red pattern, and it looks lamer.

Peter February 4, 2009 - 8:32 am

AAAAAaaaagggghhhh!!!! It’s the FLOOR of the F%#kin’ SUBWAY, F’r’crissake!!! I cant figure out why NYCT CPM has tried, over the last 20+ years, ceramic tile, Granirex (TM!)tile, actual granite tile, and other composite, and is now experimenting with whatever this stuff you photographed. NONE of them can truly withstand the rigors of the NYC subway enviroment.
The ceramic tile (Grand Central, mid-1980s) was a fractured decrepit ugly mess in a few short years, and now needs totally replaced. Granirex (epoxy & aggregate, used widely in the ’90s, is completely frictionless when even slightly wet – 50th St IRT Uptown: Aieeee!- and is now disintegrating, all over). The actual solid granite tiles hold up well, as they should, since theyre about 5/8″ thick, and probably cost $25 each, installed. Of course, they, and all the tile require additional cost to design, purchase, install and -especially- to maintain, and the best of them are still not as durable and easy to maintain as Good Ol’ Concrete.
You want the subway floor to have color? – Add some pigment to the cement. Texture? Throw some granite chips in with the pigment. Lines every 12″? Tell the mason to get out his trowel.
Perhaps NYCT should just bow to the inevitable, give a contract to the Wrigley Company, and simply do a station floor entirely in gum.

Kid Twist February 4, 2009 - 9:02 am

I vote for Juicy Fruit.

Gary February 4, 2009 - 10:07 am

Aesthetics are important. I begin and end every work day (and plenty of time in between) in the subways. The filthy concrete floors are depressing; there is a huge difference in the feel of a station that has finished floors vs. concrete.

That said, the other factor is maintenance. I think the idea is to significantly reduce the time it takes to clean a floor, which would yield cost savings going forward.

And as to the gum: I don’t chew gum very often, but when i do I swallow it. Never had a digestive problem. Why do parents tell their kids not to swallow their gum? Ignorance. I would really like to see some sort of PSA from gum manufacturers to end once and for all the myth that swallowing gum is bad for you. Imagine an end to ruined sidewalks and platforms and never getting gum on your shoe or pants again.


Gary February 4, 2009 - 10:11 am

Although I wouldn’t recommend combining the gum with sunflower seeds:

“”I’ve had another case that was really interesting,” Milov adds, “and that was somebody who swallowed sunflower seeds—[and] also, the shells.” Upon examining the patient’s lower digestive tract, Milov found “all these very prickly seeds that were congealed around gum,” forming a body that he describes as “like a porcupine.””

Which reminds me of another subway horror show: two slovenly teenage girls on a train the other night eating sunflower seeds and spitting their shells all over the floor. All class, ladies, all class.

Photo: What lines the walls at Chambers St. :: Second Ave. Sagas August 21, 2014 - 12:20 am

[…] from the south, is a gem, and the floor exists as part of a long-forgotten 2009 pilot program to combat the scourge of gum spots. It was to be cheaper and easier to maintain, but after five years, only […]


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