Home Asides The Woodside Edition of ‘Great Moments in MTA Elevators’

The Woodside Edition of ‘Great Moments in MTA Elevators’

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA’s various elevators do not have the most sterling of reputations. The ones necessary to leave deep stations in Upper Manhattan and Clark St. are dismal and foreboding. Many of the newer ones smell bad, and they’re breaking down constantly. Sometimes, those two problems are related.

Enter the LIRR’s Woodside elevator. Earlier this week, LIRR President Helena Williams shared some gruesome details about this lift. Calling it a “vertical urinal,” Williams explained how this elevator is going to need to be replaced because too many people have peed in it. According to LIRR figures, the elevator was functional only 58 percent of the time last month, lowest in the system, and no one is too pleased to have to ride it.

Strangely enough, as DNA Info notes, the station complex has five other elevators that aren’t nearly as contaminated and public restrooms as well. Though, whether or not you’d actually want to use those restrooms is a very personal decision. But no matter the answer, please just stop peeing on the transit system’s escalators.

You may also like


Kevin Walsh March 15, 2013 - 4:08 pm

I use the station all the time to transfer from the LIRR to the #7. The LIRR “waiting room” at Woodside always has a bunch of guys standing around the elevator, who seem to take shifts.

The elevator was installed during station renovations finished in 1998. The inside stinks of human piss and the outside is splattered with pigeon shit.

asar March 15, 2013 - 4:38 pm

Oh gosh, u dont have to tell me twice! The worst bathroom on the lirr drumroll please…jamaica station!2nd place….give it up for…atlantic terminal barclays center!3rd place…penn station!!!now, for the worst working elev.,atlantic ave barclays center,4/5 side! Now, last but not least,for the most awkward placed elevator,….give it up for court st 2/3side?(went there for last minute new years eve groceries at trader joes, and that elevator is just not in the right place, or shape.

Someone March 15, 2013 - 4:52 pm

Oh great, now we have people pissing in the elevators. Please don’t tell me that they s**t on them as well.

Jerrold March 15, 2013 - 4:55 pm

ESCALATORS? Ben, you obviously meant “elevators” as the last word of this article.
Besides, I think that there would also be the offense of indecent exposure if that were happening on escalators.

Gary March 15, 2013 - 6:00 pm

It would be a lot cheaper to bring back attendants.

g March 15, 2013 - 6:11 pm

I know San Francisco Muni/BART stations have a major problem with escalator damage linked to human excrement…so I guess it could be worse.

John-2 March 15, 2013 - 6:50 pm

No restrooms + lack of any nearby station personnel/law enforcement = remixer of how the whole system was by the late 70s and early 80s. Closed circuit cameras right over the elevators might make people think twice befor the use it as a latrine, but for future ADA changes, they need to make sure the elevators are as conspicuous in the main passenger area of the stations as possible

Someone March 15, 2013 - 9:53 pm

What if they piss onto the cameras? 😉

John-2 March 15, 2013 - 10:16 pm

Put ’em high up. Test those bladder muscles…

Someone March 16, 2013 - 8:00 pm

What about a woman? They can pee out of their buttholes up into the sky.

Benjamin Kabak March 17, 2013 - 10:22 am

Really? What is the point of this comment and do you think it is at all appropriate for this forum?

Someone March 18, 2013 - 1:18 pm

That was intended to be a rhetoric.

TP March 15, 2013 - 11:49 pm

Same issue as station cleaning in general. It aint that hard to put cameras in the elevators, and when they catch ’em, have cops come by to enforce the laws against public urination. Aint that hard, but there’s a real lack of willpower to stop this stuff. Nobody wants to be the bad guy to write some indigent, possibly mentally-deranged man a ticket for public urination, or worse, to haul ’em away for it. It’s a shame. Instead we’d rather spend millions on cleaning up urine or just plain toss our hands up in the air and proclaim that we can’t have such nice things as elevators.

BruceNY March 16, 2013 - 1:40 pm

“…or worse, to haul ’em away”. Why would hauling away an mentally deranged indigent who is behaving in a socially unacceptable manner be worse. This is exactly what should be done. Why should they be allowed free reign in the system when they are behaving in a destructive manner that causes law abiding, fare paying passengers so much discomfort?

Nathanael March 24, 2013 - 4:57 pm

The problem is that there’s nowhere to haul them away too.

Since Reagan closed the mental institutions and threw everyone out on the street.

It used to be, you could “haul them away” with the feeling that they were going to get help, or treatment.

Not since Reagan.

Nathanael March 24, 2013 - 4:57 pm

“haul them away to”

Nyland8 March 16, 2013 - 9:55 am

Hmmm. Well … since all elevator shafts must have a drain already – or at least a sump – how hard would it be to design a small, inconspicuous drain-way on the floor of every elevator?

Then – at least for the ones that make it down to platform level – the people who do the nightly pressure washing could just hose the damned thing down. There’s nothing but Lucite and stainless steel inside, so there’s really no reason to have to manually clean it. With a proper drain, you could just spray it and forget it.

Nathanael March 24, 2013 - 4:58 pm

This is actually a pretty smart idea. There may be some electromechanical idea why it wouldn’t work, but it should be investigated.

SEAN March 16, 2013 - 12:01 pm

Greg Mocker mentioned this on Thursday night & poor Tamsin Fidel had to listen. I actually felt a little simpithy for her despite that this is her job.

Bolwerk March 16, 2013 - 2:14 pm

Not kidding: wouldn’t banks of high-speed elevators do a lot to help fix this problem? The current ones are slow, spacious, and empty – and seemingly heavy-duty, like freight elevators. Faster (glass?) ones like in an office building or mall would at least allow less time to relieve yourself on the way up.

I never even understood the prevailing design they use for elevators in the subway. WTF would they get something so needlessly slow for? Is there any logic at all behind it?

Someone March 17, 2013 - 8:18 am

The urine stains would still cause the elevator to malfunction and go slowly.

Ted K. March 18, 2013 - 4:49 am

Subway elevators are usually hydraulic piston type. This eliminates the machinery hump that an overhead cable elevator requires. The trade-off is slower speed and a height limit. Plus there is a reduction in maintenance due to fewer moving parts.

I’ve worked in a small office building that had such an elevator. It was slow but for a three story building it was okay.

Someone March 18, 2013 - 1:19 pm

They also happen to break down quite often even without urine stains.

Nathanael March 24, 2013 - 4:59 pm

Hmm. Also, it means that the machinery is underfloor rather than overhead.

Which creates a problem when people urinate in the elevators.

Moral: use the overhead cable style of elevator when possible. Because then it’s easier to clean them!


Leave a Comment