Did you know that the A train’s 181st Street Subway Station (IND) is on the National Register of Historic Places? I wouldn’t have known that had I not seen am New York’s article on the Coolest Subway Stations in NYC. So is the 190th Street Subway Station. Of the eight locales featured, the station entrances on Ft. Washington (181st) and Bennett Avenues (190th) ironically earned their attention in the company of the gleaming new Fulton Center station, where virtually every line converges, and the gleaming Smith-9th Streets station (F & G trains).
“The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” states the NRHP website. Four local subway stations became listed in 2005. Including those mentioned above there are the 168th and 181st Street Subway Stations (IRT, 1 train). Renovation is ongoing in these stations (as well as the 191st Street station), restoring the old tile, upgrading the facility, and counterbalancing the lack of modern functionality of the early 19th century designs.
The amNY article only highlighted the station entrances and didn’t distinguish the relative pleasantness or ease of use of the underground facilities, both of which I find lacking at these stations. Still, it’s kind of “cool” to have my local stations called out for their art deco styling (181st) and Narnia-like mystique (190th).
I’ll want to explore this further. I want to see the petition for adding the 181st Street Station on Ft. Washington (and not its art-deco counterpart at 184th St. and Overlook Terrace) to the NRHP, which is not on the website. What, actually, is registered? The façade? The peeling doors? The vestibule? The concrete entrance fronting the elevators?
We shall see, because there is a mystery to get to the bottom of, and I’m the person to do it.
I wanted a chocolate birthday cake that had chocolate icing with blue writing for my 10th birthday. My Mom tried to talk me out of it. “Don’t you really want a yellow cake with nice white icing and pretty flowers?” she pleaded. For some reason, at that time and place, having a chocolate cake declared me as one who walked precariously on the edge of some juvenile boundary. Mom wanted her little girl to enjoy what the other girls enjoyed. I had other ideas.
Batman held more interest than Barbie. I’d rather have been zooming through the galaxies with the crew of the Starship Enterprise than be a Princess in my own court. Was I born in the wrong time, a girl on the forefront of distinctiveness in a cosmos of conformity?
I often look at our neighborhood and try to picture it being built up in the city as it was in the 1930s. How did Art Deco land on the shores of the Hudson? The streamlined styling of Rockefeller Center dazzles my imagination. The distinctive, curved pink glamour of our building’s entranceway charms me. What would my 1939 counterpart have dreamed of on her birthday?
Happy Birthday to me!
Santa and Mrs. Claus have come to town! They’ve settled in our lobby, bathed by the flashing lights of the Christmas tree that reflect off the highly-polished terrazzo floor. It’s only 2 weeks until Christmas. The Chanukah menorah sits nearby, set to be lit one light more night by night, at Chanukah’s start next Wednesday night. We celebrate it all. It’s the Season.
Our distinctive lobby and the historic mural have a natural beauty. Gleaming polished stone, richly veined with red and brown, clads the wall. Art deco styling of the light fixtures and elevator floor indicators dress it up.
Such a welcoming space has its own pizzazz!
With only 9 hours of daylight, those sparks of brightness in the entrance vanquish some of the darkness I feel coming in from the cold and scurrying to the elevator or up the stairs, past the mailboxes. Attuned to the postal schedule, I sympathize with the mailman due to his heavier-than-usual seasonal burden. He comes later than usual, too, and spends a longer time at his tasks. The mailbox doors snap shut with distinctive clicks and echoes that I can hear from my 2nd floor apartment. A special kind of music.