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hoyt schermerhorn subway
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Alex Headrick

Breaking news: NYC subways need some repairs

By Dana Varinsky
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A new analysis of our subway system has revealed (get ready to be totally unsurprised) that most stations are in need of repairs. The report, released yesterday by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, shows that out of our 468 stations, only 51 of them are completely sound structurally and architecturally. The data used in the evaluation is a little out of date—it comes from a New York City Transit survey conducted in 2012—but the numbers are still pretty stark. Here are some (not-so-shocking) highlights:

  • 88 percent of all subway stations had at least one structural problem
  • Among the four boroughs serviced by the subway, stations in Brooklyn and Queens had the most structural components with defects (one-third)
  • Nearly two thirds of our stations are over 90 years old
  • Currently, only 82 subway stations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • NYCT estimates that it will need more than $5 billion over the next 20 years for subway station repairs

Which were the absolute worst stations? In 2012, these were the five with the highest percentage of issues (though the top two have since been renovated):

  • Castle Hill 6 stop (Bronx)
  • Seneca M stop (Queens)
  • Seventh Ave B/Q stop (Brooklyn)
  • Ave P F stop (Brooklyn)
  • 52 St 7 train stop (Queens)

And just in case the NYCT is seeking our expert opinion, here are a few that we’d like to add to the list of priorities:

  • The F track at Broadway/Lafayette: Has anyone ever seen it without at least half a foot of filthy stagnant water between the tracks, full of rats and garbage? And how much pee does there have to be down there for every square foot of it to stink like that?
  • Hoyt–Schermerhorn: Leticia James (now our Public Advocate) tried to get it renamed after Michael Jackson in 2009, to no avail. Now we just sound like we have a head injury (or drank way too much) every time we say "Schermerhorn". Plus, what is that creepy half of the station that is always dark and never used?
  • The 2nd Avenue F: Always a boiling soup of old sweat, with those drippy-looking walls, and a coalition of sleeping Mole People. Plus, why is it perpetually sweltering down there?
  • The Canal street J/N/Q: Always smells HORRIFIC. Doesn’t seem like that was a category on this report, but it should have been.
  • The Court square G/7/E/M: Yes it has 2 moving walkways, but they are usually broken or just not running. And during rush hour, good luck walking down the hallway to transfer—it requires wall-hugging and maneuvering like you're training to be on American Gladiator.

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