Photo: At Bleecker St., an aligned uptown 6


A southward glimpse at the new Bleecker Street platform for the uptown 6. (Photo courtesy of Todd Schechter)

As the Bleecker St. rehabilitation ambles toward a June 2012 completion, New York City Transit announced yesterday the opening of a new platform for the uptown 6. In order to provide for a connection to the IND trains at Broadway/Lafayette, the uptown platform has been extended southward by 300 feet, and the northern half of the preexisting platform has been shuttered.

Overall, this station rehab is part of three projects which include the rehabilitation of the landmarked Bleecker St. station, construction of that free transfer between the IND and uptown IRT and the installation of five elevators and a new escalator. Over the years, I’ve followed this project quite closely and have been critical of the costs and timeline. Costs have ballooned to $135 million, and when the station is ready in June, construction will have taken nearly four years. By comparison, it took just over four years to build out the IRT from City Hall to 145th St.

Either way, this is a welcome addition to what was an infuriating quirk of the New York City subway system, and in three months, the new transfer will make a ride up the 6 far more convenient for folks coming from the B, D, F and M trains in the morning.

67 Responses to “Photo: At Bleecker St., an aligned uptown 6”

  1. SEAN says:

    Well I guess you could say things no longer look Bleek for this subway connection.

  2. The Cobalt Devil says:

    The white/blue tile combo is gorgeous. Also like the way they painted the support columns to match the tile colors, like they’ve done at Astor Place and Brooklyn Bridge.

  3. JB says:

    So glad that those huge blue terra cottas signs were rehabbed too. Those are so unique and deserve every dollar.

  4. Comparisons to speed in the old days always are a bit suspect when one neglects to mention the virtual “tabula rasa” of the earlier construction site/field. Ever paint a living room when you first moved in and the room was empty? Ever paint it again (or another room) when it’s filled with stuff? The second effort — surprise! — takes longer.

    I’ll yield to Mr. Kabak, and others, concerning costs.

    • Nathanael says:

      In the Bleeker Street station case in particular, there’s also a reason the station was originally extended northwards rather than southwards. Southwards was deemed more difficult and expensive back in the early 20th century. I assume the MTA ran into all the problems which the original builders wanted to avoid back then…

  5. Ben – has the northern half of the uptown platform been closed permanently or just for renovation?

  6. John-2 says:

    It’s also been noted that, as of now, there are no station name tablets on the wall of the new part of the station. That may mean that at the point the wall was put in place, the MTA still didn’t know what the name of the station is going to be, since the current goal is to unitize the names of transfer points into a single station.

    That was easier for Jay Street-Metrotech and even Court Square, though the IND platform’s 23rd St.-Ely Ave. signs remain. It’s a little harder for the new transfer, since the IND station already has the hybrid Broadway-Lafayette name, the IRT is Bleecker Street and to put all three names on the station would be both a bit deceiving and annoying, in the same way the mile-long station names on some of the WMATA stops are.

    I’m guessing we end up with a Bleecker-Lafayette stop when the signs finally go up. And hopefully, the MTA will actually spend the $$$ to cut out and insert replica tablets, and not just paste some of the black & white metal Helvetica station signs to the wall and call it good.

    • The Cobalt Devil says:

      Bleefayette? Lafaleeker?

    • Jerrold says:

      But isn’t is possible for “Bleecker” to be considered as expendable as “Lawrence”? Just change Broadway/Lafayette to Houston/Lafayette. So then the entire complex could be called Houston/Lafayette Sts.

      • Eric says:

        Broadway/Lafayette never made any sense anyway. Why isn’t it “Houston St”?

        I’d hate to lose “Bleeker St” just because “Bleeker” is such a great word/name.

        • Jeff says:

          Because IND stations are always named for the cross street and never the street the physical line runs under.

          Its like Broadway-Nassau instead of Fulton Street.

          Although in this case, since the 2nd Ave stop is also on Houston Street, they couldn’t call it just “Houston Street”.

          • Jerrold says:

            But Broadway-Nassau has BEEN renamed as Fulton St. All the signs on that platform have already been changed.

            • Jerrold says:

              Oh yes, I forgot to add that even when a COMPLETE renaming might not be practical at some station, at least they have begun to use two names that have ONE element in common, to indicate that it is a transfer point. The best example of that is 42 St.-Bryant Park and Fifth Ave.-Bryant Park.

            • Jeff says:

              I know that. I am explaining why Broadway-Lafayette was named that way in the first place.

              But regardless, in this case it doesn’t make sense to rename the station JUST “Houston Street”, since there are two stations on Houston Street on that line.

            • The Cobalt Devil says:

              The IND runs under Fulton St for about 4 blocks before turning uptown, so there’s no worries about confusing the riders. In this case, it made more sense than B’way/Nassau.

          • Eric says:

            Okay, that makes sense.

        • The Cobalt Devil says:

          Since those awesome “Bleecker Street” terracotta signs aren’t going anywhere, I’m sure the name will stay. Don’t understand why the two stations need the same name. NYers aren’t dumb, we can tell the difference.

          And I think they don’t call it Houston because the IND runs under Houston (much like the BMT runs under B’way; you name the stations for the streets they intersect, not the street it runs under).

          Bleecker St on IRT and Broadway on IND is just fine by me.

          • Since those awesome “Bleecker Street” terracotta signs aren’t going anywhere, I’m sure the name will stay.


            Also, Park Place on the 2/3 connects to Chambers St. on the A/C and WTC on the E. It’s not intuitive, but it seems to work OK.

            • Jerrold says:

              Ben, funny that you mentioned the one station where different station names WOULD BE logically justified.

              Considering the extreme length
              of that station complex, it DOES make sense for the A train station to be called “Chambers St.” and for the E train station to be called “World Trade Center”. But, that’s NOT how it is on the overhead SIGNS on those platforms. On each platform, first comes a Chambers sign, then comes a WTC sign, then comes a Chambers sign, etc.

          • Nyland8 says:

            Actually, I don’t think any of the original decorative tile work in NY subway system is terra cotta. It’s all fired at higher temperatures and was often made by prominent art pottery companies like Rookwood and Grueby.

            • Historylove says:

              Actually, all of the stations from the IRT and BMT contracts have terra cotta ornamentation. In addition to the terra cotta, you can normally find glass or ceramic tiles, mosaic tesserae, brick wainscot, and marble chair rails/bases. You are correct about Grueby and Rookwood-but it’s all terra cotta (twice fired glazes and all!).

        • Jerrold says:

          It seems that the MTA has realized that it is preferable for a station to be named after the intersection it’s at. Lexington at 53rd St. was at one time just “Lexington Ave.”, then it became “Lexington-Third Aves., but now it’s “Lexington Ave./53 St.” That’s why I don’t understand why the Delancey St. station and its intersecting Essex St. station are not both renamed “Delancey/Essex” Sts.”

          • Jeff says:

            Lexington Ave was “renamed” to minimize confusion when the 63rd Street tunnel opened… They had F trains that formerly headed to a station called “Lexington Ave” now heading to another station called “Lexingston Ave” but it was actually ten blocks away.

            That was also when they put the “via 53 St” and “via 63 St” route info on the R46 digital displays.

            • Jerrold says:

              Yes, that is correct, but notice that they also changed the signs at the Lexington R train station to “Lexington Ave./59 St.”. (It’s actually underneath 60th St., but they made it 59th St. to match the name of the #4, 5, and 6 station there.) Another station like that is Fifth Ave./53 St. on the E line. I can remember many years ago when it was just “Fifth Ave.”

            • Matthias says:

              Likewise, 7 Av should be renamed 7 Av/53 St and 57 St should be 57 St/6 Av. Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to rename 5 Av to 5 Av/42 St to match the other 5 Av stations.

      • Jeff says:

        I don’t think “Bleecker” is expendable, if only for the artistic value of the “Bleecker Street” faience name plaques used in the station dating from the original subway.

        Its not like the MTA is combining every single station complex out there. Whitehall Street and South Ferry still have different names, for example.

    • Historylove says:

      The new sections of the wall will not receive terra cotta name tablets, as those tablets differentiate the original portions of the station from the new. This is an important distinction to make when dealing with a station rehabilitation that is also a landmark. However, all of the new finishes either replicate or are similar/sensitive to the original finishes in order to provide continuity to the whole (IRT) platform.

  7. Larry Littlefield says:

    I see this as a fairly big deal. The MTA had cancelled this project due to capital budget over-runs, but then it was put back in for some reason. The MTA had predicted the Jay Street-Lawrence Street transfer would attract more riders. I expect that this one will.

    East Midtown has the densest concentraton of jobs in the city, in the country. Those on the Orange services had to go out of their way to get there, but now they won’t. And the Uptown 6 in the AM and downtown 6 in the PM has unused space. I’ll bet the availability of the Uptown transfer will induce more people to use the downtown transfer as well.

    • Bolwerk says:

      Wait, though, isn’t that “unused space” from City Hall to Union Square? This is reducing capacity for riders north of Union Square. :-p

      • Andrew says:

        No, 6 trains have plenty of spare northbound capacity in the morning on the entire line, and that’s when most people will be using this transfer.

    • Phantom says:

      –The MTA had predicted the Jay Street-Lawrence Street transfer would attract more riders.–

      Interesting. During the rush hours there seem to be plenty of people transferring there.

      Do you know what was the projected vs actual traffic there?

    • Frank B says:

      “Orange Services?”

      You mean 6th Avenue Line services.

      • Alex C says:

        Every time I hear a tourist say “blue line” or “red line” I cringe.

        • Kai B says:

          It’s not just tourists anymore, sadly. I’d say most of my co-workers use the colors and they’ve all been here five plus years. I do try to correct them without being too offensive.

          • Eric says:

            Do they never leave Manhattan or what?

            • Kai B says:

              Good question. I think they just don’t know how to refer to lines collectively.

              • Alex C says:

                You would think with the signs clearly indicating the lines as letters or numbers and the damn announcements saying it people would learn. Oh well.

                • Kai B says:

                  When the 5 runs via the 2 (one of the first diversions on automated train announcements) the announcement says “via the 7th Avenue line”). Since then, however, more recent diversions with the R160 use service letters for the “via” announcements.

                  The MTA is not about to give into colors, but they are giving into use of letters as a way to refer to diversions.

                  The way I see it: Age 40/50+ NYers: They use line names as that’s what used to be used in common language until the 1980s (the complicated signs that used to hang above subway entrances).

                  Age 40- New Yorkers almost exclusively use letters.

                  Newer New Yorkers… Well, let’s hope the colors don’t catch on.

                  Here on this blog, of course, we’re exceptions, as we’re transit buffs. But you’ll be hard pressed to find an average New Yorker in his/her 30s using the term “BMT Broadway Line” or even “Broadway Line”. About the only line that still gets some use in the younger generations is “The Lex”.

                  • John Paul N. says:

                    I made it a point in my app to include the traditional street name-lines alongside the lettered services.

                    At least Wikipedia editors (of which I used to be one) use the historical line names to create articles. But then, there are articles on lines and articles on services. As if that wasn’t confusing enough to a casual reader.

              • Eric says:

                It’s right on the train! People really don’t pay attention, do they.

  8. Gary Reilly says:

    Took the train through on Saturday and was happy to see the progress. Can’t wait for this connection to open up!

    While the timelines and costs are maddening, and the paltry resources invested in system expansion/upgrades borders on criminal, it’s good to reflect on some of the recent and pending improvements.

    This connection, the Jay Street/Metrotech connection, The realigned Whitehall station and reopened Cortland station, refurbed Columbus Circle, the obscenely delayed Fulton Street Transit center, the shortchanged 7 extension and of course East Side Access – actually a lot of positive changes.

    Imagine if we actually had a little stability at the top of the MTA and a state government that cared about funding transit investment.

    Almost forgotten, the 1st leg of SAS.

  9. Alex C says:

    Now if they could just re-renovate Broadway-Lafayette on the IND level. That station looks awful.

    • Larry Littlefield says:

      I think they’ve already done it at least once that I remember. All I know is the excrement level is way down from the bad old days, so I won’t worry about the rest.

  10. John T says:

    Shhh – don’t tell Canal Street or Eastern Pkwy or Jay Street stations that they are supposed to be cross streets!

    • crosstownlocal says:

      the Canal Street station on the N/Q, once upon a time, was named “Broadway” (according to old BMT maps)…. which would make sense, as that station (sort of) crosses Broadway before it turns up it to join the R.

      does anyone know where you could find photos of the platform before they rehabbed it with the glitzy Canal Street signage?

  11. AlexB says:

    So is the transfer open now or is it just visible for picture taking? Did they close the northern platform already?

    I think Bleecker-Lafayette is the only name that makes sense as Lafayette is the only street that each station has in common and those original Bleecker signs that everyone loves are not going anywhere. However, The Prince St station should eventually be connected to this complex too, and maybe a more generic name like “Soho/Noho” or just “Soho” would make more sense. Similarly, I’d vote to connect the Park Place station to the R at City Hall and rename the whole 2/3/A/C/E/R complex “World Trade Center/City Hall”. Unless you are familiar with downtown, no one knows where Park Place is anyway.

    I know a lot of F and A train riders probably transfer to the R at Jay St Metrotech to get to downtown Manhattan around Wall St or the South Ferry, but are there a lot of people from the R moving to the F and A also because they are faster routes to Midtown? It’s going to be interesting to see how much impact this connection has on Brooklynites’ commuting patterns.

    • Jerrold says:

      But HOW could they rename Broadway-Lafayette as Bleecker-Lafayette? The IND station does NOT touch Bleecker St. That’s why I think that Houston/Lafayette Sts. would make sense for the entire complex. ALSO, I can remember when I was growing up in Bensonhurst in the 50’s and early 60’s., and we would take the Sea Beach train (now the N) to go to places in Manhattan. The first stop in Manhattan was Canal St., but obviously that station had originally been named “Broadway”. The big inlaid tile signs said “Broadway”, and above each sign there was mounted a smaller sign that said “Canal St.” It was very clear that the Canal sign had been added much later.

      • The Cobalt Devil says:

        The IND station is one block from Bleecker, and with the new connection it’s all a moot point. No need to make more confusion by taking away the Bleecker Street name, especially with those gorgeous terracotta tiles. Since it’s now an IRT and IND station, combining the name of each is easy and smart. Bleecker-Lafayette gets my vote.

  12. I still don’t get it on why would they have to move the whole uptown (6) Train platform of Bleecker St all the way down to match the downtown platform, it doesn’t seem like a fair choice to me. The MTA is making the wrong choice to do all of this, they should’ve thought about making a corridor passageway to connect the south end of the uptown platform with the never-been-used mezzanine, added 2 more elevators at the Bleccker St entrance/exit on both platforms, 2 underpasses (1 on Lafayette St and another 1 on Bleecker St), and an additional entrance/exit at Bond St for the north end of the uptown (6) platform. I say they should delay the Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette Transfer Complex opening for 2.5 more years. Hopefully when it opens to the public sometime in 2014-2015, both the Broadway-Lafayette St station of the (B), (D), (F), (M) Trains and Bleecker St station of the (6) Train shall be combined into one station, but renamed separately called “Houston-Lafayette Sts” (the B, D, F, and M) and “Bleecker-Houston Sts” (the 6). I want that opinion of mine to be noticed and agreed by everybody else. I also don’t want the MTA to be destroying one of the iconic original designs of the three offsetted subway stations of the IRT Lexington Av Line (that being Astor Place, Bleecker, and Spring Sts), because it is an outrage and absoulte disgrace of how they would do something so cruel and horrible to those stops’ platforms, they have historical attributes that cannot be torn down and they must be able to live with them at all times. If some subway stations in NYC were built, and that they were offset from each other, do we try to align them evenly? NO! We leave them just the way they are, because they are built this way and they will always live this way. Deal with it!

    • John-2 says:

      The offset platforms only date to 1958. The downtown side was put in a decade earlier (which is why the tiles were more traditional instead of the “Grant Avenue Moderne” look that debuted on the A train’s Rockaway extension in 1955), but the TA didn’t extend the uptown local platforms south of 14th Street to handle 10 cars until the late 1950s, because the thinking was that since the 6 originated at Brooklyn Bridge, it didn’t have the crowds to require platforming all 10 cars.

      • Andrew says:

        If the northbound side wasn’t extended until 1958, why was it extended north instead of south? By 1958 it should have been obvious that a transfer there would have been useful.

        Also, any idea why Canal was extended north on both sides?

        • Kai B says:

          For the first part of your question, all we know is there’s a rumor about an engineer holding the blueprint upside-down. There’s a theory it had something to do with the local geography (street width, utilities, curvature, etc.)

        • Nathanael says:

          In 1958 it was realized that extending it south was a lot more expensive and slow than extending in north.

          They still knew that when they extended it south this time. 🙂 Wonder why it was expensive and slow? Well, I don’t actually know the details, but I’m sure they haven’t changed since ’58.

      • Kai B says:

        Nice – Grant Avenue Moderne. Finally a good name for it!

        Kind of reminds me of that passage in that video from the 40s that the MTA has on their YouTube channel:

        Euclid Avenue: The station of tomorrow today!

  13. Ken says:

    Is the uptown 6 transfer working now? When is it going into operation?


  1. […] the station rehab and renovation work at Bleecker St. and Broadway/Lafayette ambles toward its conclusion, the MTA is gearing up to add transfer signage to the station. For the first time, riders from the […]

  2. […] Authority is taking an oath of silence in finalizing a date. The project, over budget at $135 million, will move Bleecker Street’s uptown 6 platform 300 feet south, connect the IND to the uptown IRT […]

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