Home Manhattan Photo: The signs of an impending transfer

Photo: The signs of an impending transfer

by Benjamin Kabak

These signs will help usher in a convenient transfer between the IND trains and the uptown IRT at the border of Soho. (Photo via flickr user marklyon)

As 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 IND lines that run underneath the IRT tracks will be able to take advantage of a free, in-system transfer to the uptown 6. As folks who come from the areas serviced by four trains with widely divergent routes in Brooklyn can soon take advantage of this new transfer, my guess is that it will prove to be a popular spot for East Side-bound commuters.

An eagle-eyed reader snapped the above photo earlier today, and I wanted to share it. It provides a great glimpse of a work in progress and a transfer to come. Slowly but steadily, the MTA has worked to make obvious transfers more convenient. Now if only the authority would connect the G with the J/M/Z lines in Williamsburg.

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Jerrold March 29, 2012 - 1:15 pm

Ben, you know what just occurred to me? Speaking of new transfers, whatever happened to the plans for the so-called Rector Connector?

Adam E March 29, 2012 - 1:47 pm

Did the WTC transportation hub subsume that? It sounds like it will connect the Cortlandt St 1 and R stations, albeit out-of-system.

Jerrold March 29, 2012 - 2:15 pm

That’s right, out-of-system.
The “Rector Connector” was supposed to be in-system.
I suddenly remembered that it hadn’t been mentioned,
here or anywhere else, in a long time.

John March 29, 2012 - 2:21 pm

I like your poem.

Jerrold March 29, 2012 - 4:24 pm

Thank you, but I’m not the poet here. It was being called the Rector Connector when it was being discussed, even on this blog. In people’s private conversations, it was even inspiring dirty puns.

John March 30, 2012 - 12:03 am

I was commenting on the line separations, it read poetically to me. Heh.

Andrew March 29, 2012 - 10:19 pm

No, South Ferry subsumed it. The Rector Connector proposal dates to about 2002, and it died as soon as it was decided to connect South Ferry to Whitehall.

John-2 March 29, 2012 - 2:28 pm

The Whitehall Street-South Ferry link pretty much made the Rector connector superfluous, since you’d end up with the same transfer at consecutive stations, similar to the 6/J/Z situation at Brooklyn Bridge-Chambers and Canal streets.

In contrast, the Bleecker-B’way/Lafayette uptown transfer is probably the most important new in-system transfer created since the 6 was connected up to the IND’s 53rd Street stop at Lexington Avenue. It creates a simple bi-directional one-transfer link to the east side for the F and M lines, neither of which had any easy connection for passengers going to and from Brooklyn (B/D riders south of DeKalb already had the Atlantic Ave. option, but even that isn’t all that great if you aren’t going to 14th, Grand Central, 59th or 86th on the east side).

JebO March 29, 2012 - 3:00 pm

probably the most important new in-system transfer created since the 6 was connected up to the IND’s 53rd Street stop at Lexington Avenue

When was that put into place?

WikiAnswers March 29, 2012 - 3:04 pm Reply
JebO March 29, 2012 - 5:04 pm


BrooklynBus March 30, 2012 - 10:03 am

Has everyone already forgotten about the Jay-Metrotech transfer already. I suppose that wasn’t important?

John-2 March 30, 2012 - 11:40 am

It’s important, but not as much as giving four the B division lines coming in from Brooklyn direct access to all Midtown east stations via the 6, since the R veers west towards the IND lines in Manhattan after Union Square.

Until this year, you could go home (or just go to Brooklyn) from the east side via the Bleecker transfer, but you couldn’t get there easily, and for F train riders, it was all but impossible to make a decent uptown connection with the Lex (B/D had Atlantic Ave. and M riders had the Canal/Chambers alternatives prior to the M/V merger). So it will be interesting to see how many riders were willing to do different commutes in the AM and PM in the past to take advantage of the Bleecker downtown connection, and how many simply used other routes, but now may switch over to the 6 since they can use it coming to and going from work.

If nothing else, it’s bound to make the rear uptown cars on the 6 a lot fuller south of Grand Central than they’ve been in the past, and probably do the same for the back cars on the updown B/D/F/M trains coming into B’way-Lafayette.

Alon Levy March 29, 2012 - 10:04 pm

Surely the Court Street-Ely Street transfer counts as important, no?

Not that it detracts from the main of your comment, of course.

Jerrold March 29, 2012 - 11:23 pm

You mean Court SQUARE and 23 St.-Ely AVE.

Which brings me to the main point that I want to make about the way that that station now is.
It must be confusing as all hell to people who are NOT native or longtime New Yorkers. The wall signs still say 23 St.-Ely Ave., but the pole signs say Court Sq.
Even if they don’t want to spend the money to gouge out all those tiles, they could still COVER the tile signs with new signs that would say something like 23 ST. – COURT SQ.

Andrew March 29, 2012 - 11:24 pm

Those mosaic signs are among the prettiest signs on the IND. Please don’t cover them.

John Paul N. March 30, 2012 - 3:45 am

Agreed. Exhibits A and B: the 138th Street and 149th Street stations on the Grand Concourse. Yuck.

Come to think of it, I can’t recall any IND stations where their name mosaics were covered over. The 161st Street/Yankee Stadium station may have been, but I’m not sure. And I don’t mean stations like Broadway Junction or Fulton Street where only the letter tiles were covered over.

John-2 March 30, 2012 - 11:43 am

Cut out two rows of white tiles either below or in-between the existing tablets. Insert new tiles with the words “Court Square” into the space. Problem solved.

John-2 March 29, 2012 - 11:27 pm

It’s important, but in a positive/negative way in that the cutback in G service to Court Square made the transfer important.

That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with the MTA sending both Queens Blvd. locals to Manhattan. It’s just that if you’re a G rider, you needed the transfer because you could no longer access Queens Plaza. The impending uptown 6 connection to the B/D/F/M at Bleecker and the other new in-system connections over the past 35 years didn’t come coupled with a service reduction that increased its importance (in fact, the M/V merger will now represent an improvement/increase in service for Myrtle and B’way-Brooklyn riders headed to Midtown east, since the new transfer will restore the M riders’ direct transfer to the Lex they lost south of 53rd Street back in June of 2010).

Ed April 2, 2012 - 10:43 am

I will always take the E train

John-2 March 29, 2012 - 3:06 pm

Back in 1989. It was one of the first transfers directly linked via the basement of a new building, as opposed to the normal transfers which are usually under the regular street grid.

Jerrold March 29, 2012 - 4:19 pm

The trouble is, when the F was rerouted to the 63rd St. line, a good part of the advantages created by building that connection was lost. Yes, there IS the M train there on weekdays, but the direct connection between the F and the #6 was at least equally important as the connection between the E and the #6.

Andrew March 29, 2012 - 10:20 pm

The connection became less useful to Queens express riders but more useful to Queens local riders.

ajedrez March 30, 2012 - 5:46 pm

But before, QB local riders still had the (R), which was a better transfer because it connected to the (4)(5) and also was much easier (simply go up or down a flight up steps instead of through a long passageway)

Steve March 29, 2012 - 4:26 pm

I can’t wait for this transfer to open! I live on the F and G lines and ever since they rerouted the F to 63 St (which I hate! Id rather it be back on 53 and would also prefer the G back on the Queens Blv line) it’s been very difficult to get to the Lexington line uptown from the F! This transfer is going to be awesome! Like you said, there definitely needs to be a transfer (or at least an out of system transfer) from the G to the J/M/Z! It’s so close and it would help better connect the system!

Andrew March 29, 2012 - 10:17 pm

The G is midway between two J/M/Z stations. Any transfer there would involve a substantial walk, which would seriously reduce its attractiveness.

Kai B March 29, 2012 - 10:35 pm

The interesting thing is that there are directional signs at street level between Lorimer and Broadway and, I think, also between Broadway and Hewes. I’ve always considered Lorimer the better candidate since there are open exits on its near-G side. It’s always the one I use when I make the out-of-system transfer.

Andrew March 29, 2012 - 11:21 pm

I think those signs went up during the Williamsburg Bridge closure in the late 90’s (possibly in conjunction with a free transfer – does anybody remember?). I’m surprised they’re still there.

John Paul N. March 30, 2012 - 3:33 am

I predict this will be the preferred alignment. The Lindsay Triangle (bordered by Broadway, Lorimer and Throop Avenue) should provide enough land for the above-ground to below-ground interface while providing accessibility. While the distance between the closed Hewes Street entrance and the closed South 5th Street entrance is shorter, the above-ground land acquisition will likely be costlier.

One big disadvantage is it will not likely have a corporate sponsor for the capital spending (see CitiCorp for Court Square). Political support may also be a big question mark. As the ranking senate Democrat (and former chair) of the transportation committee, Sen. Martin Dilan’s support of this project within in his district would have earned him much support from his subway-riding constituents (myself included). But I have not heard any comments from him about this transfer.

(Speaking of political representation, the politics of this region in Williamsburg and Bushwick are going to get nasty. It always has been, but what was bubbling may now be boiling this year. All I’ll say is do a search for the aforementioned Sen. Dilan, his son Erik, Nydia Velazquez, and Vito Lopez.)

A user of my app alerted me to a closed entrance on the SW corner of Broadway and Union Avenue, and I also checked it out for myself. I would like to know if it is temporarily or permanently closed, if anyone knows.

Andrew April 1, 2012 - 2:14 pm

Preferred alignment for what? Nothing is being built here.

Clarke March 30, 2012 - 10:11 am

I would be willing to bet the overall walk is shorter between either of the JMZ stations and the G than the overall walk from the platform of the F at Lex-63 to its out-of-system transfer at Lex-59.

George March 30, 2012 - 11:43 am

It is definitely a shorter walk from either of the JMZ stations to the G than from Lex-63 (underground Queens-bound platform) to Lex-63 (surface). That is a 10-minute walk.

Andrew April 1, 2012 - 2:25 pm

The Lex/63 and (now-defunct) Court Square walking transfers were implemented to compensate for transfers lost due to service changes in 2001.

NYCT doesn’t implement walking transfers just because they’d be nice to have.

Bolwerk April 2, 2012 - 9:02 am

So doesn’t it make as much sense to compensate for losses in 2010*? The G at least kinda substitutes for the loss of service between the Jamaica Line and South Brooklyn – and offers a way to the R without going into Manhattan, if that’s desired.

* Or 1969! The G through Bed-Stuy roughly parallels the demolished Myrtle El, too.

Alon Levy March 30, 2012 - 6:05 pm

They can close the two J/M/Z stations and open one in the middle on top of the G.

Phantom March 31, 2012 - 3:03 pm

That makes far too much sense to be considered

Andrew April 1, 2012 - 2:17 pm

At great cost, and also at the expense of increased station access time for most people who currently use Lorimer and Hewes. Does the benefit outweigh these two costs? I doubt it.

Alon Levy April 1, 2012 - 5:20 pm

Relative to everything else, above-ground infill stations are pretty cheap.

And are Lorimer and Hewes more important cross-streets than Union?

Andrew April 1, 2012 - 5:40 pm

Pretty cheap in comparison to new underground stations, but that doesn’t make them cheap in absolute terms.

I don’t think the cross streets themselves are the important issue – most of the people boarding at these stations are walk-ups from the nearby residential development, although Lorimer is a transfer point to the B48. Based on Google satellite view (I know, not the most accurate source), it looks like Hewes serves a dense cluster of low-rise housing and Lorimer serves the Lindsay Park coop (with 2700 apartments). Based on the parking lots, the area closer to Union looks a bit less dense.

Douglas John Bowen March 30, 2012 - 10:26 am

One hopes it becomes a popular option for riders of many stripes, and not just “commuters.” (Read that: THOSE people.)

Onix Navarro March 30, 2012 - 3:33 pm

The 161st Yankee Stadium mosaic signs on the IND were covered over with giant blue walp signs in the 70’s. I would like to know what the signs read at 138th Street before the signs were covered over.

The Cobalt Devil March 30, 2012 - 4:19 pm

They said “Mott Haven” as evidenced by the “MH” mosaics lining the walls: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/stations?198:47

Phantom March 31, 2012 - 3:04 pm

Mott Haven is an interesting name, with a history.

Why in the world did they change it?

Onix Navarro March 30, 2012 - 5:16 pm

Oh, so the original mosaic didn’t read 138th St then. There’s one uncovered sigm that still reads Mott Avenue on 149th St-Grand Concourse on the 2-5 lines.

Parick March 30, 2012 - 8:08 pm

how about the 2/3/4/5 and the L in Brooklyn? At least a free out-of-system transfer
i mean there is one but you have to illegally enter the system.

btw who’s in charge of that little bridge between the two stations, they really need to do something about all that caked-up bird droppings

Juan Castillo April 3, 2012 - 4:08 pm

In my statement regarding the few replies made by others, it reads as follows:

Jerrold: It was originally planned out for the free in-system transfer to be built on Rector St, but the MTA changed their minds and went with South Ferry.

Adam E.: Hopefully when the Dey Street Passageway opens to the public along with the FSTC in 2014, the MTA will consider creating a free in-system transfer between the (1), and (R), and rename the Cortlandt Street Stations as the “Cortlandt-Fulton Sts” station.

John-2: You’re saying that you want the MTA to built an in-system transfer between the Queensboro Plaza and Queens Plaza stations, that’s probably a fat chance it will happen.

Alon Levy: The Court Square Transfer has been working great so far, but the MTA should build another transfer point to the (E), and (M) Train at the north end of the 45th Road-Court Square (7) station, because the south end transfer only leads to the (G) Train instead.

Steve: Sometime in July 2013, I really hope that the (G) Train will someday return its original weekend evening, and all weekend service to/from Forest Hills-71st Av, Queens. I also hope that the (G) Train will continue serving Church Av permanently.

Patrick: I also always wondered what will happen if the MTA were to build an elevated free in-system transfer between the Junius Street (3), and (4) Train station and the Livonia Avenue (L) Train Station, after finishing it, the stations will be called “Van Sinderen-Livonia Avs”.


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