Home Queens At Court Sq., a new name but no transfer yet

At Court Sq., a new name but no transfer yet

by Benjamin Kabak

The sign, sent out to reporters by the MTA a few minutes ago, pretty much says it all — except for when the Court Sq. transfer between the G and 7 will open.

Updated (5:05 p.m. with a correction): While the immediate opening date of the Court Sq. transfer between the 7 and G train remains unknown, New York City Transit has announced that the 23rd Street-Ely Ave. station on the Queens Boulevard local line is now Court Square-23rd Street. The name-change, says Transit, is “in anticipation of the opening of the free transfer” that was supposed to have opened in February. It’s current status is unknown, but the new station name will begin appearing on subway maps and train announcements soon. New signage as well will go up at the station.

The press release though is vague on the connection. It says that debut of the new transfer is expected “sometime this spring,” but that’s been the party line for months. I recently heard that disputes over Citi’s obligations and some slow work on the escalators are responsible for the delays.

When the transfer is complete, the 7 stop at 45th Road-Court House Square will also be renamed Court Square, and the G station will no longer carry the “Long Island City” moniker on the subway map. The entire station then will be Court Square-23rd Street.

The press release also included a bit of New York City history: “Opened in 1939, the station is located on 44th Drive between 23rd and 21st Streets in Long Island City, Queens. Ely Avenue was the original name of 23rd Street before streets in the borough were given numbers by the Queens Topographical Bureau in 1915. It is the last station in the borough on the Queens Boulevard line before crossing the East River through the 53rd Street tunnel into Manhattan.” One day, our free transfer amongst the E, M, G and 7 trains will come.

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Eric March 17, 2011 - 11:46 am

This is starting to get ridiculous.

Jonathan R March 17, 2011 - 11:46 am

One day the TA will stop using those original names (Rawson? Bliss? Van Alst?), perhaps for the 100th anniversary of their disappearance.

Lawrence Velázquez March 17, 2011 - 1:17 pm

Many of the streets in Sunnyside (Bliss, Rawson, etc.) still carry the original names on their signage (albeit alongside the proper numbered name). I think it’s a historic thing.

Matt March 17, 2011 - 3:15 pm

They did remove those names from the maps in the 90’s/00’s.

Due to popular demand the original names were brought back.

ferryboi March 17, 2011 - 6:18 pm

Kinda funny that the offical MTA announcement on the NYC Transit website actually uses the “IND Queens Blvd line” nomenclature when describing the 23 St-Ely station. Haven’t seen any “IRT/IND/BMT” designations on official MTA announcements or signage in years.

Alex March 17, 2011 - 12:25 pm

Simplifying navigation of the system is never a bad thing. I say bring on better transfers and station consolidation.

Michael March 17, 2011 - 12:32 pm

Does this mean they’ll gouge out the “23rd St – Ely Ave” mosaics? The “Ely” tiles?
I’m frankly surprised the 82nd Street station on the #7 isn’t “82nd Street – 25th Street;” it was 25th Street at one time, long ago and far away.

John March 17, 2011 - 2:18 pm

I think in general they’ve been leaving the mosaics alone, even if they no longer match the exact station name.

Alex C March 17, 2011 - 12:32 pm

How long will it take for them to update the FIND database on the Jamaica Yard R160s this time? It took them two months after the name change before Jay Street-MetroTech was finally starting to show up properly on the R160s on the F.

Lawrence Velázquez March 17, 2011 - 1:18 pm

I’ve been seeing “Court Sq-23 St” on the E for at least a week now, if not longer.

Alex C March 17, 2011 - 1:30 pm

That’s a relief to see. MTA has pleasantly surprised me. Now if they could just find that one R142A set on the 6 that still announces the W and V trains and update it.

Scott E March 17, 2011 - 4:01 pm

Why fix what ain’t broken? I’m sure many would rather have the agency find the W and V trains. (said tongue-in-cheek, of course)

Kevin March 17, 2011 - 1:21 pm

I’ve seen a few E’s already changing to the new station name even before this announcement. I was wondering why they did it. They’ll probably change the name of the 7 train platform when its done too.

SEAN March 17, 2011 - 12:36 pm

What a strange way to reconnect the E, G & 7 lines. Wouldn’t it make aditional sence to reextend the G to 74th Street Jackson Heights?

pete March 17, 2011 - 1:00 pm

Assuming your talking about G along Queens Blvd line.
A. you can’t terminate trains at Roosevelt Ave (after some heavy construction you can get some relay tracks from the old Winfield Spur)
B. if you send the G, then either no R or no M.

Sending the G on a ramp onto the 7 line, cold day in hell. I’ll see an SNCF TGV on the Queens Blvd line before that happens.

Jerrold March 17, 2011 - 2:30 pm

Besides, the gauges are different.
The G is BMT/IND gauge. The #7 is IRT gauge.

Benjamin Kabak March 17, 2011 - 3:50 pm

Technically, gauges are the same but car widths are different. The wheel spacing — the definition of gauges — is the same throughout the system, but the cars on the IND/BMT are wider than IRT cars.

Max S. (WilletsPoint-SheaStadium) March 17, 2011 - 5:37 pm

U.S. Standard baby.

Here’s a (very) far-fetched idea: After Court Square, the G train takes new fly-over tracks up to the BMT Astoria, with the next stop being 39 Avenue. That way Q service re-routed to 2nd Avenue won’t be missed in Astoria, and it connects several young hip centers.

I would think that would cost about $7 billion?

Lawrence Velázquez March 17, 2011 - 11:01 pm

Oh oh, and then extend it to LaGuardia! Think that would get it up to $15 billion or so?

Alon Levy March 18, 2011 - 10:35 am

Even at SAS construction costs, it wouldn’t be $15 billion – junctions aren’t that expensive. But Astoria-Ditmars to LGA underground would be close to $8 billion at SAS costs (and about $1 billion at European costs).

al March 17, 2011 - 11:56 pm

If I recall correctly, one of the BMT articulated trains was 10 feet 10 inches wide, compared to 10′ width for the existing B Division fleet. By trading car length for width, is it possible to come up with a similar type of train to run over the A divisions that would be close to 10′ wide over thresholds. If not, how about a version that would be wider (and higher passenger capacity) than existing IRT rolling stock.

Henry Man March 18, 2011 - 3:55 pm

Loading gauge that is. All lines in the subway use standard track gauge: 1435 mm. It is possible however, for the Flushing Line (Main Street – Qnsboro) to be converted for Div B operation, since it was built as part of the Dual Contracts.

al March 17, 2011 - 2:51 pm

But the G is less than 1000 ft from the Sunnyside Yards. One can see a relatively inexpensive tunnel connector, with open cut, grade and elevated section through the yards, NYCRR, warehouses, BQE, and GCP, to LGA. From there, elevated/grade sections could be built to the southeast over GCP, Flushing Bay, to Mets/USTA.

Hitesh April 5, 2011 - 8:46 pm

Why “either no R or no M”? Until the service/cuts changes to the V last year, the G R V was running along queens blvd local. Even now occasionally the G does the run along the blvd to go to Jamaica yard,

Lawrence Velázquez March 17, 2011 - 1:24 pm

The Queens Boulevard G ship has long since sailed. The priority is now capacity into Manhattan, and the G doesn’t fit in.

Kid Twist March 17, 2011 - 1:03 pm

Actually, they have their history wrong. I read somewhere that although the Queens IND opened in 1933, 23rd-Ely was added later — 1939 or ’40, I think.

ferryboi March 17, 2011 - 9:39 pm

nycsubway.org states the station does indeed date from 1933.


Bill Reese March 17, 2011 - 1:29 pm

Ben, you should write a post about the top 5 Station Transfers that should/need-to be built, if you haven’t done so already.

It would be a structural nightmare, but connecting the Queensboro Plaza/Queens Plaza stations with the proposed Sunnyside LIRR station would be a nice.

Lawrence Velázquez March 17, 2011 - 1:49 pm

*cough*Livonia Av-Junius St*cough*

al March 17, 2011 - 2:52 pm

That will be done when the Triboro gets built.

Jerrold March 17, 2011 - 2:27 pm

Coming to think of it, how about a Queensboro Plaza/Queens Plaza transfer?
Then, they could rename the entire complex as “Queens Plaza”.

al March 17, 2011 - 2:56 pm

Get the LIC developers (Gotham Center I’m looking at you) to chip in TOD.

Joe Steindam March 17, 2011 - 2:58 pm

Connecting Queensboro Plaza (elevated) and Queens Plaza (subway) is probably very difficult, either you’d have to build an underground passageway or perhaps build an elevated walkway under the Flushing line tracks with moving walkways and escalators. It’s quite a large distance between the two stations for an in system transfer.

Livonia Ave-Junius St is definitely a good one. Broadway (G) and Hewes St (J/M) is another good one too. They all pose difficulties.

Alon Levy March 17, 2011 - 6:51 pm

They should connect QP and QBP first.

Al D March 17, 2011 - 2:06 pm

Do they mean Spring of 2011?

AlexB March 17, 2011 - 2:42 pm

I’ve been ready for this one for a long time.

Has anyone ever seriously proposed connecting the G to the Astoria line? I feel like the tracks can come out the ground in the middle of Jackson Ave to become elevated, then fly over the 7 tracks and back down to connect with the Astoria line somewhere before the 39th Ave station. Adding a new stop along the way that connects with Queens Plaza would be a good options too.

Joe Steindam March 17, 2011 - 3:10 pm

I know one of the Second System plans called for the G to be extended into Astoria as a separate line, but connecting the G to the Astoria line would be an interesting prospect if it were truly feasible. The bigger problems are that in a neighborhood that is rapidly developing, opposition to a new elevated structure would be very high and very strong. Opposition to new elevated lines in Queens has already stopped any plans to extend the N to LaGuardia, so I’d imagine opposition would also be strong there too.

AlexB March 17, 2011 - 3:43 pm

I’m only talking about a short stretch (about 1700 feet) of elevated train in a relatively unattractive area that is filled with office buildings and warehouses, and very few residential buildings or retail stores.

The area of Queens that rejected the new elevated line was Astoria, around 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard. It is an attractive, residential neighborhood, with a lot of pedestrian activity that would have seen a lot of disruption had the elevated line there been extended. The train was to be extended for three or so miles through the neighborhood to LaGuardia. Quite different.

Lawrence Velázquez March 17, 2011 - 11:06 pm

The IND Queens Boulevard Line express tracks occupy the middle of Jackson Avenue almost all the way to Court Square. You’d need a huge track reconfiguration to make this happen. Among other difficulties.

AlexB March 18, 2011 - 10:17 am

I guess the local G tracks could come out of the ground in the side lanes, obviously worse than the middle lanes though.

Jerrold March 17, 2011 - 3:35 pm


Coming to think of it, if there is a dispute going on between the MTA and Citigroup, it could wind up in court and drag on for years.
Why can’t the MTA complete the work to get the Court Sq. transfer open now?

Benjamin Kabak March 17, 2011 - 3:53 pm

It’s not really a legal dispute. It’s most a “when are you going to finish this” dispute. I’m not worried about protracted delays (beyond what we’ve already seen) or litigation.

Al D March 17, 2011 - 4:03 pm

There is a design flaw that permits rain, snow and ice to run off exactly where people walk. A gutter and proper drainage are needed on the lowest tier of the roofglass.

Otherwise there will be countless slip and fall injuries (and lawsuits) when one walks past the structure. How does 1 make MTA aware of this? And forget the website. Only ‘canned’ answers come out of that place since they effectively killed the Line GM program.

al March 18, 2011 - 12:50 am

Option 1)
Go to the work site and ask for the CM, PM, or Owner’s Rep. Tell them of the condition in person or writing.

Option 2)
Contact the owners of the buildings adjacent to the entrance. They will not like having a slip hazard next to their facility. It might be a good idea to talk to the storefront business in those buildings for help.

Option 3)
Contact MTA Capital Construction. Send thorough documentation of the problem.

Option 3a)
Do as in Option 3, but contact the local city council member (Jimmy Van Bramer – City Council District 26) as well. When you email documentation of the problem to the MTA, send a copy to the City Council with the same email. A visible, plain as day, CC on a email to a city council member will get the bureaucracy to respond.

al March 18, 2011 - 12:53 am

Option 4)
Contact Citigroup. Apparently thy’re funding this project.

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Jerrold March 18, 2011 - 4:20 pm

I’m very strongly pro-handicapped rights, but there still seems to be some bureaucratic idiocy going on with this situation.
In a past article here, it was mentioned that the escalators are required by the ADA rules, and that the remaining problems are with the escalators.

So why can’t they open the stairways NOW, while they continue to work on getting the escalators finished? Inconveniencing EVERYBODY does not help the handicapped riders. If they opened the stairs now, the free inside transfer would be usable by riders who are able and willing to use the stairs.

Paul W March 19, 2011 - 11:47 am

If the stairways are indeed complete, I do find this a laughable situation… after all, when escalators/elevators at other stations are out of service, they don’t blockade the only usable stairs too. LOL

Glenn March 21, 2011 - 6:31 pm

The stairways have been complete for 6 months or more at this point.

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