MTA workers lay out the floor on the downtown IND platform at Columbus Circle. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak.)
It’s hard to find a station in worse shape right now than the Columbus Circle hub. The station — a key transfer point between the West Side IRT and the 8th Ave. and 6th Ave. lines — is in the middle of an extensive renovation that won’t end until 2009 at the earliest.
It’s not a stretch of the imagination to call the current state of the station is a huge disaster. Blue construction walls dot the station’s landscape, and platform sizes have become severely restricted as work crews attend to matters as large as asbestos abatement (West Side IRT) and floor reconstruction (IND platforms). While in April, I wrote an extensive post looking at the overall plans for the station, let’s take a peek, by way of some subtlely-taken Blackberry photos, of the current state of the station.
As I’m currently undergoing physical therapy at an office on 57th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave., I have the pleasure of navigating this station two days a week now. Progress is haphazard; one day, a staircase will be open, and the next day, it will be shut. One day, sections of the platform will be roped off; the next day, they’ll be open.
Mainly, what I’ve seen are crews working on the floors on the IND platforms. For months, the platforms have existed below grade with the trains. Warning signs urged straphangers to watch their steps. Now, the platforms are rising up, at least in the middle, to meet the train doors. Take a look:
On August 8th on the southern most end of the downtown A/B/C/D platforms, crews were hard at work laying out the new tiles. This photo and the one at the top of this post show the work in progress.
A week later, the tiling in that small stretch of space was finished. This small area nearly looks like a usable subway station. Just don’t look or walk around the rest of the Columbus Circle station. But when all is said and done, the station will look like the rendering below. For now, we’ll just have to deal with a few more years of construction.