A terminal opens in Brooklyn, over two years lateBy
The new LIRR terminal at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves. is now open for business. (Photo courtesy of New York City Transit)
In 2004, the glaringly suburban and sterile Atlantic Terminal Mall complex opened as the first part of Bruce Ratner’s plan to take over a little corner of Brooklyn that doesn’t really want him there. Yesterday, after $108 million and over 30 months past due, the LIRR’s new Atlantic Terminal Pavilion finally opened.
The new building, designed by John di Domenico, is one of soaring ceiling and natural light that replaces construction tunnels and, before that, a rundown terminal. Sitting atop 10 subway lines and a busy LIRR hub, the new three-story structure is indeed a welcome improvement. According to the LIRR, the building was made of limestone, granite and glass, and its soaring atrium “allows natural light to reach the below ground LIRR concourse and subway station.” The building also features a new ticket office, public bathrooms and a new waiting area.
Efforts to rebuild and replace the Atlantic Terminal have a rather tortured history. The original station, built in 1907, was torn down in 1988, and the area has been in a state of flux since then. (For views of the old terminal, click here and here. John di Demonico’s design was chosen 13 years ago and construction began, with a price tag of $82 million, in 2002.
A.G. Sulzberger of The Times had more:
The completion of the $108 million update to the transportation hub — which has been called “Brooklyn’s Grand Central Terminal” for its approximately 25,500 Long Island Rail Road passengers and 31,650 subway riders each day — coincides with major redevelopment efforts in the neighborhood, including a new mall directly above the station and a proposed $1 billion basketball arena just blocks away.
Jay H. Walder, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, described the improved Atlantic Terminal as “a place, simply put, that you’d want to take a subway from or to.”
The semicircular outside walls and ceiling of the three-story pavilion are paneled with glass, allowing light to flood through the half-moon shaped atrium — replete with an artistic interpretation of a craggy bluff — and down a granite staircase to the remodeled limestone-clad platform level below. The architect, John di Domenico, said the design remained essentially unchanged in the thirteen years since it was chosen.
While many — from commuters passing through to Borough President Marty Markowitz — praised the new structure, others are dismayed with the anti-terrorist designs seemingly thrown in with little regard for the building. The Brooklyn Paper slames the coffin-like bollards that mar the sidewalk in front of the pavilion’s entrances. Gersh Kuntzman calls the building, airy on the inside, a “bunker” outside, and other architects agree.
“Obviously, the original design did not consider a terrorist attack,” Hayes Slade said. “In fact, the entryway presents a particularly open face to the street, which is aimed at transparency and access. Our society is at an odd transitional moment regarding how we deal with considerations of potential terrorism versus safety, mobility, openness.”
After the jump, a video tour of the Atlantic Terminal Pavilion, via the LIRR’s YouTube account.