Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Briarwood/Van Wyck

Now that I've started breaking up my commute, to pop up, meerkat like, mid-journey, I decided it was time to actually see what it was like above ground on my F-line trip through Queens. I know all the Manhattan & Brooklyn stops, & am all too familiar with the rat infested Sutphin Boulevard stop*, but I knew none of the other Queens stations I pass through, except for the bustling Roosevelt Ave. stop. So, first things first, today was the turn of Briarwood/Van Wyck. This turned out to be a real downer. You get out of the station to a bland, stretch of concrete, with Queens Boulevard & the Van Wyck roaring beside you. The architecture is grim, the sad stretch of storefronts across the boulevard unenticing, and the general atmosphere totally forbidding to the would-be pedestrian. Robert Moses land, in extremis. I stayed outside for about a minute and a half, and then scurried back underground. The only interesting thing about the stop itself is that it contains a Transit Authority police station. But peering through a window, the officers looked pretty tired and bored, with perhaps the only business on the horizon a late afternoon donut run.
*Actually the Sutphin Boulevard stop isn't so bad. The rats on the platform are never pleasant, but its proximity to the Queens courthouses gives it a slightly Dickensian air. Always a curious assortment of travellers on the platform, always a lawyer in a cheap suit, always a faint whiff of a shabby secret or two.