While browsing through NYCSubway.org over the weekend, I came across a few photos of the Atlantic Ave. headhouse. The one above, along with this postcard, show the headhouse as it was when the elevated trains still ran up and down Flatbush Ave. The building today is symbolic, but it once served a purpose.
As I leafed through the pages of photos, I saw the headhouse evolve over time. The elevated trains came down, and the subway systems were unified. The Atlantic Ave. headhouse became a relic amidst busy streets, unused and falling into a state of disrepair. A photo from 1997 shows the headhouse at its worst.
At some point, Arts for Transit took over the building, and today, it sits majestically and silently in the middle of the triangle formed by Flatbush, Fourth and Atlantic Aves. A 2008 photo shows the restored headhouse, and its Arts for Transit page discusses how the headhouse now serves as an artistic skylight for those folks waiting on the Brooklyn-bound local IRT tracks.
The photos made me ponder the changes in our system. Once we had elevateds; now we by and large do not. Where will we be in another 100 years? What infrastructure will still be used? What will be gone? What new things will take its place? The city’s transportation landscape must be ever-changing to keep up with demand, but sometimes, it seems stuck in time.