With Shea Stadium but a memory, the subway stop nearby will soon carry a new name. (Photo by flickr user wallyg)
Earlier this week, the DC-based Greater Greater Washington tackled the problem with Metro station names. The WMATA’s system has some rather ludicrous names. For example, when I lived in DC for ten months, my Metro stop was called Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan.
Here in New York, we are far more efficient with our station names, and by and large, those names are immutable. After all, Columbus Circle has been known as that since the year after the subway first opened, and 50th St. will always just be 50th St. Street-based names are succinct, and they tell you right where the train will shed its passenger load.
Now and then though, a station tied into a geographic location has to change its name because that geographic location isn’t there anymore. Out in Flushing, where 7 line riders used to travel to Willets Point-Shea Stadium, the MTA is attempting to figure out how best to rename the stop, now home to the corporately-sponsored CitiField. The MTA is none too keen on slapping Citi’s branding on a subway stop without a fiscal contribution, and they have tried to extract one from the Mets will little success. In The Times today, William Neuman reports:
Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had once hoped that a bit of Citigroup’s $400 million endorsement pact with the Mets might trickle down their way, through a naming rights deal of their own for the station.
But those hopes evaporated with the bank’s near-collapse and the Mets’ refusal to share the wealth.
So on Tuesday, transit officials informed the Mets that when the subway station (currently named after the team’s former home, the now-demolished Shea Stadium) was rechristened, it would not actually use the name of the new ballpark.
Instead, the station, on the No. 7 line, will be called simply Mets/Willets Point. New signs will go up soon replacing the old signs, which say Willets Point/Shea Stadium. The nearby Long Island Rail Road station will be renamed in the same way.
“We’re willing, as we have said, to entertain corporate names on stations, but only for a fee,” said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Good for the MTA. There’s no need to give Citi the free advertising, and it’s quite possible that CitiBank won’t exist long enough to fulfill the terms of its 20-year endorsement pact.
Meanwhile, Neuman reports on the MTA’s $40 million rehab of the newly named Mets/Willets Point station. That station — a highly-trafficked and impossible-to-navigate one at its worst — has gotten a fresh coat of paint, some elevators, new lights and a streamlined entry path.
With new Yankee Stadium simply called Yankee Stadium, the MTA won’t have to rename the B/D/4 stop in the Bronx. The new Metro-North station will be called Yankees/E. 153rd Street, another succinct geographic demarcation of its location.