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I'm surprised I haven't seen any posts on this here yet. Here's an article from the Times. I'd love it if we could have pics of the place on here. This sounds like a great development for Brooklyn. I'm sure it looks beautiful. Too bad before passengers get to Coney Island, they have to go through a bunch of decrepit stations.

New York Times

May 28, 2005
And Now for the Good News From the Subway System

Amid the bad news about the subway system - fires, delays and deferred dreams like the Second Avenue subway - one ambitious project, the spectacular European-style train terminal at Coney Island, reaches a milestone this weekend.

At 12:41 a.m. tomorrow, an N train will roll into the new station, at Stillwell and Surf Avenues, completing the restoration of full subway service to southern Brooklyn for the first time since late 2001.

Riders from four lines will converge below a soaring glass shed, the ocean sparkling in the distance.

But the terminal stands in contrast with the undeniably shabby precincts that border the beach and Boardwalk. City officials view the subway terminal as an attraction and a potential boon for tourism, much like KeySpan Park, a minor-league stadium that has drawn thousands of baseball fans to the area over the past four years.

In an era when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority seems unable to advance its aspirations for expansion, the $300 million terminal, produced on time and more or less within budget, provides a rare example of a beautiful addition to the transit landscape. Its signature element is a 75,000-square-foot glass canopy, made up of 2,730 solar-energy panels, which hover over eight tracks and four platforms, all completely rebuilt.

At night, the glass shed is illuminated by floodlights below, producing a soft glow that reaches out to the high-rise apartments nearby.

Officials compare the station, unabashedly, to the great train terminals of the industrial age, like Paddington Station in London or Gare St.-Lazare in Paris.

"It doesn't feel like us," Cosema E. Crawford, the chief engineer at New York City Transit, said candidly during a recent tour of the station. "It doesn't look like what you think of when you think of the New York City subway."

The project is especially significant for residents in neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn - Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sea Gate, Gravesend and Bath Beach - who have endured more than three years of noise and dust, not to mention suspended or rerouted train service on what are now the D, F, N and Q lines.

"This has been so eagerly awaited that there will be, on the official day, I guarantee you, cheering in the streets," said Chuck Reichenthal, the district manager for Community Board 13. Although the terminal will be back in business tomorrow, not all its final touches are expected to be finished for another month or so.

The four subway lines that end at Coney Island - known traditionally, and still marked on subway maps, as the West End, Sea Beach, Culver and Brighton lines - are descendants of steam railroads that began in the 1860's. The terminal replaces one that was built between 1915 and 1919 and had all but crumbled away.

Except for part of a brick-faced signal tower, preserved for nostalgia's sake, all that is left of the old station is a terra cotta facade facing Surf Avenue, which was painstakingly taken apart, restored and reassembled. The letters on the facade, BMT, refer to the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation.

The project involved replacing a corroded steel structure, encased in crumbling concrete, with a new open-deck steel structure, typical of the transit agency's other elevated stations.

But the project's size made it exceptional. New York City Transit asserts that the Coney Island terminal is the largest subway station in the world, although it has a far smaller ridership than Times Square or Grand Central Terminal.

At the northern end of the new complex is a new facility for train crews.

At the southern end, a new, 34,000-square-foot Portal Building serves as the public gateway to the terminal. It includes a new station house, complete with holding cells, for the transit police; a signal maintenance facility, and a retail complex.

As riders approach the trains, they will pass a 370-foot-long mural, made of translucent glass blocks with images of the 5-cent hot dog, the Wonder Wheel and other Coney Island attractions embedded in the glass, by the artist Robert Wilson.

By next spring, five stores - perhaps a clothing store, a bank branch, a fast-food restaurant among them - will occupy the 7,600 square feet of retail space, along with a handful of seasonal concessions selling beach-related items.

Since late 2001, N trains have stopped one station away, at 86th Street in Gravesend. The bulk of the construction - five of the eight tracks - was scheduled so that service would be cut off for only one full summer, in 2003. During that period, Coney Island was served by only one line, what is now the D.

On May 23, 2004, service on the F and Q lines was restored. The final two tracks to be rebuilt are to open tomorrow.

A joint venture of two companies, Granite Halmar Construction and Schiavone Construction, built the main terminal and canopy, while a third company, Vertex Engineering Services, built the Portal Building. "It looked like a war zone at one point," said Suhas C. Sheth, the construction administrator for the project.

Ms. Crawford, the chief engineer, who oversees 1,600 engineers, architects and other employees who manage the transit agency's building programs, said she was particularly proud of the "green," or environmentally conscious, aspects of the project.

Workers recycled 85 percent of the debris from the old terminal, including two million pounds of steel. The photovoltaic panels that make up the canopy will generate 236,000 kilowatt hours of power a year, enough to cover about 15 percent of the energy used by the station.

Joshua Sirefman, the president of the Coney Island Development Corporation, a nonprofit entity that the city created in 2003 to encourage economic development, said he was particularly impressed by the project's faithfulness to the neighborhood's history.

"It reflects the character of Coney Island, which for any new activity is a significant accomplishment," he said.

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