December 1999

The Little Station in the Woods by Paul Matus

The T.B. Ackerson Real Estate office in March 1906, today's Avenue H Brighton Beach Line station house. The reconstruction of the Brighton Line has already begun. The track seen at the front of the picture is on the temporary testle which carried the Brighton Line to a level crossing with the LIRR Bay Ridge Line. View is looking east.   Paul Matus Collection


Unlike railroad stations, subway stations are usually notable for being inconspicuous.
     Railroad stations were often built to reflect their communities, big and little. Where the impressive Grand Central Terminal and the magnificent Pennsylvania Station represented New York, even small towns took pride in their stations, frequently raising their own funds to present visitors with a nice first impression of their communities.
     Subway stations are another matter entirely. Usually there is no station house at all. The functions found in railroad station houses are typically found in a mezzanine underground or on a platform suspended beneath an elevated structure. This area, where change is made and tokens and Metrocards sold, goes under the unlovely name of “controls.”
     So it is something special when a subway station has an old-fashioned railroad station house. One such station is Avenue H, on the line served by the D and Q trains in Brooklyn, known as the BMT Brighton Beach Line.

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