Home Brooklyn At Atlantic Ave., an updated name with a corporate twist

At Atlantic Ave., an updated name with a corporate twist

by Benjamin Kabak

An astute straphanger noticed some new signage at Atlantic Avenue this week. (Photo by flickr user OverclockedBravo)

It sure does seem like ages ago that the MTA announced its first — and, so far, only — subway station naming rights deal, but after three years, the Barclays Center is coming to the subway system. As we learned back in June of 2009, the MTA is earning $200,000 annually for 20 years for the right to append the name of the new arena to the subway station name, and the new moniker is now showing up on maps and at the station.

Pacific Street, we hardly knew ye.

As the photo above shows, the Barclays Center name is slowly taking over some column posts even though the arena won’t open for another four months or so. Meanwhile, it has made its first appearance on the online subway map but not the PDF available for download. According to one report, maps and system signage will not bear the new name until later this summer.

With this glimpse at the subway naming future, we see that, apparently, the MTA will be dropping the Pacific St. half of the station name entirely. In a way, that’s no big loss as Pacific St. was a relic of the old BMT system. As Pacific St. is a tiny one-way street with nothing much of note on it, passengers bound for that station are more interested in the fact that the stop lies at the intersections of Flatbush, 4th and Atlantic Aves. Only some of the entrances were on Pacific St., and the Atlantic Ave./Barclays Center name better captures why subway riders are heading there in the first place.

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Chet May 15, 2012 - 12:31 pm

Okay, so can they now add Citifield to the stop there?

SomeGuy32 May 15, 2012 - 12:35 pm

if Citi pays up

WilletsPoint-SheaStadium May 15, 2012 - 1:09 pm

Boo! We all know what this station should be called… (har har)

Kai B May 16, 2012 - 1:43 pm

They just paid $41 to get their name on thousands of bicycles in the bike share program, so I guess it’s still a possibility.

Kai B May 16, 2012 - 1:44 pm

I mean $41 million of course!

Jeff May 15, 2012 - 1:08 pm

Not happening.

Citi considers the naming rights deal one of the worst moves they made in the last five years. They won’t add to that.

Ben May 15, 2012 - 1:45 pm

Seriously? One of the worst moves they made between 2007 and now? One of the worst moves made by CitiBank between 2007 and now??

Actually, if they think that, it would explain a lot about what went on with CitiBank in the last few years…

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 3:12 pm

They weren’t ashamed to go (on their corporate jets) hat-in-hand to Washington to beg for a bailout.

SEAN May 15, 2012 - 5:28 pm

Exactly! They see nothing wrong with finantial theft since their lobbiest friends right the legislation that make it all possible. And if anyone raises a peep about it, these thugs will make the global stock & bond markets crash like MF Global & AIG.

petey May 16, 2012 - 12:18 pm

“And if anyone raises a peep about it”

… it means you hate america 🙁

AK May 15, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Ed Koch Bridge, RFK Bridge, Barclays Center stop… What are names New Yorkers will never use, Alex?

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Avenue of the Americas.
Or how about the South in Park Ave. South and Seventh Ave. South? Or the Extension in Flatbush Ave. Extension?

Frank B May 15, 2012 - 2:47 pm

You forgot the Interborough Parkway! lol

It really annoys me when they remove the original names of things. Did you know it cost $4 million to change all the signs to say “RFK Bridge?”

For God’s sake, do you know how many parks and/or schools they could’ve fixed up for 4 million dollars?!?

Chet May 15, 2012 - 4:15 pm

It cost the state $4 million, the MTA only had to replace nine signs costing $3500.

Now, I hate to disappoint you, but $4 million isn’t a lot in the realm of school construction. My high school is in the midst of getting a completely rebuilt athletic field, track and baseball diamond- cost $10 million.

We also are having work done in our Auditorium- new sound equipment, lighting board, some additional theatrical lighting, refurbished stage rigging, and few other items. Cost- almost $300,000.

Now, it is certainly true that the $4 mil would have been better off being spent in a school, but not let’s get carried away with how much it would buy.

petey May 16, 2012 - 12:26 pm

the new york city mission claims that an average meal costs them $2.09 (http://isite156909.web08.intel.....3906.ihtml). so, $4M would buy 1,913,875.6 meals for the indigent. not to get carried away …

Josh May 15, 2012 - 6:13 pm

I used to live on Flatbush Avenue Extension, and let me tell you, it was an endless source of frustration having UPS, Time Warner Cable, food deliveries, etc. show up at the corresponding number on Flatbush Avenue proper, somewhere down near BAM, then call me and ask why I wasn’t answering my doorbell. It took two months to get cable installed because TWC couldn’t figure out where my building was!

Andrew May 15, 2012 - 10:08 pm

I wonder why it was named Flatbush Avenue Extension as opposed to Flatbush Avenue North (think of Seventh Avenue South or Park Avenue South).

Josh May 15, 2012 - 10:57 pm

Your guess is as good as mine.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 11:07 pm

I once had a relative on Vanderbilt STREET in Brooklyn, in the Windsor Terrace area. There, you could be waiting for a car service. (“Where the hell ARE they already?”) They would have gone to Vanderbilt AVENUE, a much better-known street.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 11:10 pm

P.S. Cell phones had not been invented yet. You could not call the car service without going back up to your apartment.

SEAN May 15, 2012 - 12:42 pm

How about a few more naming rights ideas…

Grand Central 42nd Street Met-Life
34th Street PenStation MSG
47th 50th Street NBC
59th Street-Columbus Circle Trump international?
OK I’m pushing it a little.

BoerumBum May 15, 2012 - 1:45 pm

You’re going to want to take the uptown 1 train four stops to the Fairway – Dinosaur BBQ Station.

SEAN May 15, 2012 - 2:41 pm

Good one!

How about Beach 67th street Arverne by the sea Benjamin Beachwood station.

If you don’t know what that is, http://www.arvernebythesea.com is the web site of a massive housing development in the Rockaways just beyond JFK Airport. The names above are Long Island home builders who are constructing this project on 127-acres of beachfront.

Frank B May 15, 2012 - 9:03 pm

I figured they were Long Islanders. They destroyed the Street Grid. Beach 70th- Beach 72st Streets are now “Coral Reef Way” Whoopee.

They can go back to Long Island and clog up their own streets with their street hierarchy, and ‘Car is King’ nonsense. Thank God the Rockaways is already solidly developed and only about 5 avenues deep at its thickest point; they can’t do much damage.

All that being said, I like the houses and development itself; just poor foresight, and as discussed above, I HATE IT WHEN THEY RENAME, RESHAPE, OR DESTROY HISTORY; Might as well rename 5th Avenue Bloomberg Boulevard.

Just my little rant. There ought to be a law…

Justin Samuels May 18, 2012 - 9:59 pm

The Rockaways are a part of Long Island’s South Shore, geographically Queens in Long Island. Its just that recently developers have decided to do to the Rockaways what’s been done to the rest of Long Island South Shore.

Frank B May 15, 2012 - 12:43 pm

The Barclays Center part I get. My question is, why is there a sign designating that the M still runs back into Brooklyn rush-hours?

The Cobalt Devil May 15, 2012 - 12:46 pm

Good catch. MTA can only change signage if there is money in it. Othewise, you’re on your own! Map is a confusing clump of into (as usual).

Benjamin Kabak May 15, 2012 - 12:59 pm

The brown M is still there because that sign was, for the past few years, behind a blue construction wall. The area’s not officially open yet, but when it is, there will be a sticker over the brown M as there is throughout the rest of the station complex.

Andrew May 15, 2012 - 10:09 pm

How is that area not open? Isn’t it on the Brighton line platform?

Overclocked May 16, 2012 - 3:30 pm

The error was corrected on Tuesday.
p.s. Thank you for using my photo.

oscar May 15, 2012 - 12:55 pm

does 200K for 20 years seam cheap?
less than 1K / month for pretty substantial naming rights

Benjamin Kabak May 15, 2012 - 12:58 pm

To clarify: It’s $200,000 per year for 20 years. So that’s over $16,000 per month.

Alon Levy May 15, 2012 - 5:22 pm

That’s still low relative to the effect it has on station name comprehensibility.

Spendmore Wastemore May 15, 2012 - 1:03 pm

This is actually a good deal. Step 1, Barclays gets their name formally affixed a complex, impressive, grimy and unpleasant series of holes in the ground. Step 2, Barclays nametag gets universally ignored.

Step 3: MTA makes bank.

Jeff May 15, 2012 - 1:15 pm

Its not getting ignored. The Barclays name is going to get splashed over every piece of subway map, signage, guide, etc. out there. Everyone who past by the station would be hearing the name from the train announcements, and the bank will get the name recognition they want.

BoerumBum May 15, 2012 - 1:34 pm

Did NYU pay for rights at the stations that have mossaic NYU signage? (8th St. BMT, Christopher St. IRT, 42nd/Bryant IND)

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 1:44 pm

I assume that the names of places like universities and hospitals have long been put onto nearby subway station signs as a public service.

Christopher May 15, 2012 - 2:02 pm

Really? I remember when I worked as a work study student in San Francisco those little red dots that indicated where schools were on the BART? Paid for by the schools. If you wanted a red dot, you paid something like $10K a year.

TP May 15, 2012 - 2:22 pm

Let’s not forget: Times Square was renamed for the NY Times when they moved their offices there. It used to be called Longacre Square. Unclear whether they ever paid the city for that one. Is the turn of the century around the end of the time when it was acceptable to name things after corporate entities? Things change. The city’s not static. Maybe in 100 years we’ll be using “Barclays” to refer to the whole neighborhood around the arena.

Alon Levy May 15, 2012 - 5:32 pm

It’s about comprehensibility, not how long it’s been there. Macy’s has been at 6th and 34th since 1902, and the Herald has been defunct since 1924, but the intersection is still called Herald Square. This name is generally understood and is independent of who owns land nearby. Likewise, the generally understood name of the intersection of Broadway, 7th, and 42nd is Times Square.

Now, if over the next 20 years Barclay’s will build up its brand and advertising to the point that people start referring to the Atlantic-Pacific area as Barclay’s Arena, then it’s okay. This would require Barclay’s to spend many millions of dollars on marketing, leading to a general renaming. What’s not right is for the MTA to do it for them for a very cheap price.

Frank B May 15, 2012 - 9:05 pm

Park Slope will be called Barclays? I hope to God that doesn’t happen.

BoerumBum May 16, 2012 - 10:13 am

Nah, we’re just wanted another neighborhood that sounded like one from London to go with SoHo. Too bad the spelling of Berkeley Square will be wrong, though.

Alon Levy May 17, 2012 - 3:11 pm

Alas, there’s no Camden.

BoerumBum May 18, 2012 - 9:44 am

South Jersey kinda tarnished that one

John-2 May 15, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Well, the MTA needs the money, though the Barclays people will probably get better name recognition bang for their buck if the Nets can ever produce a championship team that keeps the building’s name in the spotlight for several rounds of the playoffs. For regular New Yorkers, they’ll treat this change about the way they acknowledged those “Avenue of the Americas” route signs the city put into a lot of the IND cars after World War II.

Jeff May 15, 2012 - 2:26 pm

They probably want the name to reach more than just basketball fans… The Nets making the playoffs would only improve their name recognition with that group.

No one uses Avenue of Americas… It doesn’t even show up in station names. On the flip side, “Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center” will be the name that everyone hears whenever a train arrives at the station, so eventually that’s going to stick.

John-2 May 15, 2012 - 4:51 pm

They will want to book more than just the Nets into the arena, but they will be the highest-profile tenant for a while, so any success by the team will offer up the same sort of higher-profile mentions of the Barclays Center that the office supply people at Staples get from the Lakers’ continued success.

As for the ‘Ave of the Ams’, the city and even the MTA tried to make the name common usage by putting it on revised roll signs from the R-1/9s all the way up to the R-32/38s over about a 30-year period. Didn’t matter — nobody used the name before and nobody used it after. Same thing will happen here, though if the only reason a person is going to the stop is to attend a basketball game/concert/other performance at the Barclays Centerm odds are they would be more likely to call the station by that name. Regular users of the station and those passing through to and from other points in Brookyln are just going to keep calling it Atlantic Avenue.

Larry Littlefield May 15, 2012 - 1:50 pm

Aside from the payment for new names issue, there is also the issue of naming stations after destinations rather than streets.

I for one would like to see Broadway-Nassau-Fulton-Cortlandt renamed “New Amsterdam Station.” When they are done in 2050.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 2:57 pm

WHAT Broadway-Nassau station?
The “downstairs” part of that station (where the A train stops) has ALREADY been renamed as Fulton St.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 3:09 pm

WOW! The advertising on this site is getting high-class. Just look at THIS ad from the rightmost column of this page. The rich man’s subway! Or should I call it the rich man’s LIRR? “Helicopter to Hamptons
Executive Twin Engine Helicopter to and from the Hamptons.


Benjamin May 15, 2012 - 3:28 pm

Did they always have the 4-5 dip around Hoyt Street on that part of the map? It looks ridiculous.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 4:06 pm

But WHY does it look ridiculous, considering that those lines do not stop there?


John May 15, 2012 - 4:44 pm

Well, imagine if every express line ‘dipped’ around the stations it skips on that map? It would look absolutely absurd then. I think that’s what he means. Imagine if the 4/5 were illustrated in Manhattan like the or routes are illustrated

Chris O'Leary May 15, 2012 - 4:13 pm

Ugh, nope, that is a new addition. The last version of the map didn’t have that dip. It looks so awkward.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 4:45 pm

To me, it looks like a good idea.
It makes clear what could easily be overlooked by somebody who did not grow up here as we did.

Andrew May 15, 2012 - 10:12 pm

The current PDF map doesn’t have it either – only the GIF version has it. I agree that it’s awkward, and it’s entirely unnecessary.

Matthias May 17, 2012 - 12:24 pm

It’s not just an “express” skip. Express trains can stop at local stations (and many do overnight) but Lexington Av trains can never ever stop at Hoyt. So it may be a useful distinction (although I agree that it looks bad, along with the loops and swoops on the Jerome Line).

Skip Skipson May 15, 2012 - 3:59 pm

Now that they have renamed the station to Barclay’s, I wish to purchase their products.

Kid Twist May 15, 2012 - 4:58 pm

The distinction between the Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street stations was useful back in the bad old days when the rollsigns on the trains were wrong much of the time. If you were heading for Brooklyn at Canal, Grand or DeKalb and the conductor announced “Pacific Street, next” you knew it was a Fourth Avenue train and not a Brighton. If you could make out the announcement, that is.

Here is a similar recent story concerning the London Tube: http://www.economist.com/searc.....nderground

Think twice May 15, 2012 - 9:25 pm

That’s actually a great argument for making it “Pacific Street–Barclays Ctr”.

Andrew May 15, 2012 - 10:15 pm

It’s still useful when trains are rerouted or when you’re not sure which train goes where.

I’m sure the name won’t fade away entirely, since it would be criminal to cover up these: http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?34059

John-2 May 15, 2012 - 10:52 pm

I still wish they’d uncover the Mott Haven signs at 138th Street.

Josh May 15, 2012 - 6:15 pm

Do the Yankees and Mets pay to have their names on the subway map? Citi was discussed upthread, but the teams themselves are private business concerns too.

Joe Steindam May 15, 2012 - 6:58 pm

I don’t believe they do, and I suspect the reason is that they were grandfathered in. The City used to own both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium, it was more likely that the City wanted the stations marked for that purpose. By this point, the stations are associated with the respective teams that the MTA has little choice but to make some note of the nearby stadiums. But it chose instead of giving Citibank free advertising, to refer to the station as Willets Point-Mets.

This might explain why Madison Square Garden, which was always privately owned, has never appeared in the name of a subway station. Although to be fair, there have been 3 different MSG’s at different locations since the Subway opened. And it might confuse people trying to find the actual Madison Square, which is 10 blocks south of MSG.

SEAN May 15, 2012 - 7:48 pm

Wouldn’t it make more sence to call MSG what it truely is, Cablevision Garden? After all as already mentioned, Madison Square is 10-blocks to the south & MSG sounds like a chinese food aditive.

Think twice May 15, 2012 - 9:39 pm

Excellent point. “Garden” however is an anachronism too. Perhaps “Cablevision Arena”, “Optimum Arena”, or “Dolan Arena”.

Think twice May 15, 2012 - 9:20 pm

Time for NYU, Columbia U., Yankee Stadium, Rockefeller Center, et al to start paying up for that same privilege.

Jerrold May 15, 2012 - 10:16 pm

But unlike Citi Field, Yankees is also the name of the TEAM.

Kai B May 16, 2012 - 2:57 pm

Funny that the Metro North stop for Yankee Stadium is named in the “you didn’t pay us” fashion: Yankees – East 153rd Street

Josh May 15, 2012 - 11:02 pm

Is Rockefeller Center per se a corporate entity? I don’t think that’s the name of any of the businesses that operate the buildings, though I guess it’s possible that the Rockefeller descendents might still have a financial stake in them. It’s not like it’s called “Tishman Speyer Center”. Plus it’s a National Historic Landmark.

Linkage: Heights Residents Hate Citibike; Barclays Gets a Subway Stop – insiderater.com May 16, 2012 - 2:12 am

[…] · Jonathan Miller has hurt feelings over the Observer’s Power 100 list [Matrix] · Barclays Center gets added to the subway map [Second Ave. Sagas] · Horse auction house on 13th Street gets landmarked [EV Local] · […]

Linkage: Heights Residents Hate Citibike; Barclays Gets a Subway Stop | Text or Call : 917-557-6066 May 16, 2012 - 12:21 pm

[…] [BK Daily]· Jonathan Miller has hurt feelings over the Observer’s Power 100 list [Matrix]· Barclays Center gets added to the subway map [Second Ave. Sagas]· Horse auction house on 13th Street gets landmarked [EV Local]· Photos of […]

“I’m still calling it Atlantic Av – Pacific St” | MetroFocus | THIRTEEN August 23, 2012 - 1:58 pm

[…] noticed the change yet.  With no ribbon-cutting, celebrity kick-off or cheerleaders, at some point this spring, the sprawling station commonly referred to as Atlantic Avenue – Pacific Street began its […]


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