Queensboro Plaza station
|New York City Subway station (rapid transit)|
|Address||27th Street & Queens Plaza|
Long Island City, NY 11101
|Locale||Long Island City|
|Division||A (IRT), B (BMT)|
|Line||BMT Astoria Line|
IRT Flushing Line
|Services|| 7 (all times) <7> (rush hours until 9:30 p.m., peak direction)|
N (all times)
W (weekdays only)
|Transit|| NYCT Bus: B62, Q32|
MTA Bus: Q39, Q60, Q66, Q67, Q69, Q100, Q101, Q102
|Platforms||2 island platforms (1 on each level)|
|Tracks||4 (2 on each level)|
|Opened||November 16, 1916 (Flushing Line)|
February 1, 1917 (Astoria Line)
|Accessible||not ADA-accessible; accessibility planned|
|Accessibility||Cross-platform wheelchair transfer available|
|Rank||91 out of 424|
|Next east||Astoria Boulevard (Astoria express): no regular service|
39th Avenue (Astoria local): N W
61st Street–Woodside (Flushing express): <7>
33rd Street–Rawson Street (Flushing local): 7
|Next west||Lexington Avenue/59th Street (Broadway): N W |
Court Square (Flushing): 7 <7>
57th Street (Second Avenue elevated; demolished)
Queensboro Plaza is an elevated New York City Subway station at Queens Plaza in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. It is near the east end of the Queensboro Bridge, with Queens Boulevard running east from the plaza. The station is served by the 7 and N trains at all times; the W train on weekdays; and the <7> train rush hours in the peak direction.
Queensboro Plaza was originally built in 1916–1917 as part of the Dual Contracts between the Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) and the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT). The station initially had eight tracks to allow BMT and IRT passengers to transfer between the Astoria, Flushing, and Second Avenue elevated lines. The northern section of the station was closed in the late 1940s and demolished in 1964. Queensboro Plaza now contains only four tracks: two each for the IRT Flushing Line (7 and <7> trains) and the BMT Astoria Line (N and W trains).
Today, Queensboro Plaza is the only station in the entire system to provide cross-platform transfers between "A" Division (7 and <7>) and "B" Division (N and W) trains. While the station is near the Queens Plaza underground subway station, which serves the IND Queens Boulevard Line, the two stations are separate and do not allow free transfers.
The New York Public Service Commission adopted plans for what was known as the Broadway–Lexington Avenue route (later the Broadway Line) in Manhattan on December 31, 1907.:212 A proposed Tri-borough system was adopted in early 1908. Operation of Manhattan's Broadway Line was assigned to the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT, subsequently the Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation or BMT) in the Dual Contracts, adopted on March 4, 1913.:203–219 The Dual Contracts also included opening the Steinway Tunnel, an incomplete tunnel between the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Queens. The Steinway Tunnel would be operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT).:168
The Dual Contracts negotiations had been intricate and sometimes fractious. The IRT had initially been loath to let the BRT operate its Broadway Line through Midtown Manhattan, but relented when negotiators offered the BRT all of the proposed lines in the planned dual system. In Queens, which heretofore had no subway service, two lines had been proposed, both extending from an interchange station (later Queensboro Plaza) in Long Island City. The shorter Astoria Line would run to Astoria in northwestern Queens, while the longer Flushing Line would be built initially to Corona, and eventually to Flushing, in north-central Queens. As part of the Dual Contracts, the IRT was given ownership of both lines, but the BRT was given trackage rights over the routes, allowing both companies to share revenue from their Queens operations.
The Queensboro Plaza station was built as an eight-track station, with four tracks across two levels. Each company took two tracks on each level. The southern half of the station, which opened on November 16, 1916, served trains of the IRT. The northern half of the station opened on February 1, 1917, serving BMT trains. In general, BRT trains were wider and longer than those on the IRT, and the Queens lines were built so that they could only fit the narrower IRT trains. The IRT had direct service into Manhattan via the Steinway Tunnel, as well as via the Queensboro Bridge to the Second Avenue elevated line. However, BRT trains from the 60th Street Tunnel and the Broadway Line in Manhattan could not run north or east of Queensboro Plaza, as they were wider. Consequently, BRT trains from Manhattan had to terminate on the northern side of the station, where cross-platform interchanges were available to narrower BRT shuttle trains that could run in Queens.
In 1942, the IRT Second Avenue Line closed, and the upper portion of the north side was abandoned.
Service changes and station modifications
On October 17, 1949, the $1.375 million renovation of the station was completed which allowed the rerouting of trains between Manhattan and Queens. As part of the project, the Astoria Line platforms were shaved back to allow BMT service to operate through to 60th Street, and new connections were built between the 60th Street Tunnel approach and the west tracks at the east (former IRT) platforms, and the west (former BMT) platforms were closed. Once the project was completed, the IRT started using the Flushing Line only and the BMT started using the Astoria Line only. With the station's renovation, it became easier for passengers to transfer between the IRT and BMT lines. Instead of having to climb between the upper and lower level platforms, passengers were able to use cross-platform transfers. There was a crossover just west of the station which allowed the Astoria trains to access the Steinway tunnels. This was removed directly after the joint operation ceased in 1949. Much of the mezzanine was rebuilt as part of the project, including the pedestrian bridges leading to either side of Queens Plaza. On the north side of the lower level, a new window wall was constructed.:C-33
In 1964, the abandoned northern half of the Queensboro Plaza station was demolished. One set of crossovers remains on the upper level as the Flushing Line's only connection to the rest of the system. This connection is used for non-revenue moves, specifically to transfer subway cars to the Coney Island Shops for repairs, to transfer new cars to the Flushing Line, or to move rolling stock to or from the Flushing line.
In 1981, the MTA listed the station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system. This station was renovated in the late 1990s, and the contract for the project's design was awarded in May 1994.:C-32–C-34 In 2018, it was announced that the Queensboro Plaza station may receive elevators as part of a process to expand the New York City Subway system's accessibility.
|3F||Northbound|| ( weekdays) toward Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard (39th Avenue) → |
(No service: Astoria Boulevard (express))
|Northbound|| toward Flushing–Main Street (33rd Street–Rawson Street) → |
PM rush/evenings toward Flushing–Main Street (Woodside–61st Street) →
|2F||Southbound||← toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (Lexington Avenue/59th Street)|
← toward Whitehall Street–South Ferry (weekdays) (Lexington Avenue/59th Street)
|Southbound||← toward Hudson Yards (Court Square)|
|1F||Mezzanine||Fare control, station agent|
This two-level station has two island platforms (one on each level) and four tracks. It stands over the south (railroad east) side of the roadway, but formerly spanned the whole plaza. Trains running into Queens stop on the upper level and Manhattan-bound trains below. On both levels, the BMT Astoria Line (which to the south joins with the 60th Street Tunnel Connection and heads through the 60th Street Tunnel to the BMT Broadway Line) uses the north track and the IRT Flushing Line uses the south track.
As of 2014[update], the station is being renovated by NYCTA employees (as opposed to an outside contractor). A computer assisted tower is being installed on the south end, as part of the IRT Flushing Line automation.
Historical track layout
Lower level and connecting lines
In the original configuration, the station had eight tracks and four tracks per each level. Originally, the IRT used both sides of the current platforms, and the BMT used now-demolished platforms north of the current platforms, also double-decked. The south side of the IRT platforms was used by the Flushing Line, as today. The north side was used by Astoria trains, but instead of going through the 60th Street Tunnel, they went over the Queensboro Bridge to the elevated IRT Second Avenue Line. Double crossovers south (lower tracks) and north (upper tracks) of the platforms allowed trains from either side to switch to the other line after leaving the station.
At the BMT half, the south track served subway trains to Manhattan and the BMT Broadway Line. By 1924, trains came from Manhattan on the upper level, continued north to a merge with the lower level, and then returned via the lower level. Before that, trains reversed direction using a double crossover south of the platforms. Since the platforms were IRT-size, the BMT used its own elevated cars to provide service on the lines, with a required transfer at Queensboro Plaza. Shuttles from Astoria came in on the west side lower track and then reversed direction to head to Flushing; Flushing trains came in on the upper track and reversed direction towards Astoria.
During the early period of dual service on the Astoria and Flushing portions, IRT and BMT trains had their own stopping marks on the platforms and the sections of the platforms were separated. Passengers had separate entrances to the platforms depending on which service they wanted. This set-up prevented free transfers between the trains of the two companies. This arrangement had to end when the IRT lengthened trains. The two companies worked out an agreement in which the revenue collected on those stations was shared.
After 1949, the track layout around the station was greatly simplified. Only the original southern side of the Queensboro Plaza station remains in service, with two tracks on each level. Queens-bound trains use the upper level, while Manhattan-bound trains use the lower level. BMT trains use the northern tracks on each level and IRT trains use the southern tracks. A double crossover remains on the upper level.
The station's only exits are through a mezzanine located below the lower level (and formerly connected to the now torn-down BMT platforms to the west). From the mezzanine, there is a concrete ramp across Queens Plaza North to the second floor of a building. There is also an overpass leading to Queens Plaza South.
In popular culture
Queensboro Plaza is featured in a defining moment in the film Beneath the Planet of the Apes. The protagonist astronaut ("Brent") unknowingly enters the ruins of an underground station; upon seeing the words "Queensboro Plaza" in tiles, and finding an advertisement for the New York Summer Festival, he realizes that he is indeed on Earth and not another planet, and that New York City has been destroyed in a nuclear war. In reality, Queensboro Plaza is an elevated station and has no tilework.
The station is also featured in the Seinfeld episode entitled "The Cigar Store Indian", as the location of a renowned gyro stall, and again incorrectly depicted as an underground station, on an IRT Lexington Avenue Line 6 train.
- "New Subway Link" (PDF). The New York Times. November 5, 1916. p. XX4. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- "First Train Runs On Elevated Line to Astoria Section". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 1, 1917. Retrieved June 29, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Station Developers' Information". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Facts and Figures: Annual Subway Ridership 2014–2019". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
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- Engineering News, A New Subway Line for New York City, Volume 63, No. 10, March 10, 1910
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- Rogoff, David (1960). "The Steinway Tunnels". Electric Railroads (29).
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- "www.nycsubway.org: BMT Astoria Line". www.nycsubway.org. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- "Direct Subway Runs To Flushing, Astoria" (PDF). October 15, 1949. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- NYC Transit Committee Agenda May 1994. New York City Transit. May 16, 1994.
- "8 City Subway Cars In Odyssey to Flushing". New York Daily News. Fultonhistory.com. November 21, 1947. p. 15. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- Gargan, Edward A. (June 11, 1981). "AGENCY LISTS ITS 69 MOST DETERIORATED SUBWAY STATIONS". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
- MTA Board - NYCT/Bus Committee Meeting - 02/20/2018. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. February 20, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2018 – via YouTube.
- "Tracks of the New York City Subway". Tracks of the New York City Subway. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Long Island City" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Queensboro Plaza (New York City Subway).|
- nycsubway.org – IRT Flushing Line: Queensboro Plaza
- The Subway Nut — Queensboro Plaza Pictures
- MTA's Arts For Transit — Queensboro Plaza
- Queens Plaza North entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Queens Plaza South entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Upper level from Google Maps Street View
- Lower level from Google Maps Street View