This new LIRR terminal is on a roll

The Brooklyn Paper
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After nearly six years of construction, the new entrance to the Long Island Rail Road’s critical Atlantic Terminal at Flatbush Avenue is finally open to straphangers.

Though the ground-floor entrance is blocked off until next week’s grand opening, The Brooklyn Paper got a sneak peak of the concourse, which can be accessed via LIRR platforms.

Commuters looking for the ticket office will find that it has moved to a new location on the concourse below the ground floor entrance, where natural light shines through glass that spans from the road to the ceiling, offering views of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower across the street.

Bringing in natural light to the concourse below street-level was one of the top priorities of John di Domenico, the head architect with the Queens-based firm, di Domenico and Partners, which designed the facility.

“As a commuter, light serves as a timepiece, as well as being pleasant — and free,” he said, adding that the previous entranceway had been cramped and poorly lit.

One of the distinctive features of the new space is a rough-hewn granite sculpture featuring craggy geometric shapes that loom over commuters emerging from train platforms.

The inspiration for the Cubist forms, according to artist Allan Wexler, came from scenic overlooks at state parks.

“It is a cross between mathematics and nature,” said Wexler. “I don’t want it to be clear where the architecture ends and the sculpture begins.”

More than 50,000 commuters come through the station daily, whether via the subway or Long Island Rail Road. The new, spacious entrance will better accommodate the surge in riders if the nearby Barclays Center ever opens.

Still, the hordes of pedestrians will have to contend with the sarcophagus-sized slabs of stone outside of the entrance, which are meant to ward off terrorists, but are also a grotesque eyesore.

The renovations began in June 2004 with a projected budget of $116 million, according to an MTA press release. A source said that the job was completed $8 million under budget (but then again, the source was “off the record,” so who knows?).

Di Domenico said that the biggest challenge was accommodating so many commuters throughout construction.

“We had to [work] without causing additional inconvenie­nces,” said di Domenico.

Despite the five years it took to build the new entrance — which disrupted foot traffic on Hanson Place — di Domenico said the lengthy construction time was a necessary evil.

“There weren’t delays as far as I’m concerned,” di Domenico said. “We had to make sure the trains ran on time.”

Updated 5:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from BH says:
Uh, why wasn't this built by Ratner as part of Atlantic Center Mall?
Dec. 29, 2009, 12:26 am
Steve from Slope says:
Six years while two buildings at least 15 stories tall went up nearby in the last couple of years.

I know the MTA is slow but this one really took the cake. Six years!!!!

Dec. 29, 2009, 2:03 am
Tina from Lucielle Heights says:
LIRR keep on rolling, proud Mary keeps on burning, rolling, rolling, rolling on a river.

Seriously, who cares, does anyone ever take there trains? Personally i never have and do't know anyone who does.
Dec. 29, 2009, 3:22 am
Gill Bates from Heights says:
Why does nobody talk about how long it took to do this?

I remember the old terminal, brick facade, high ceilings - and a fire in the 1980's.

So WHY did it take more than 30 years to rebuild?
Dec. 29, 2009, 8:39 am
Bunny from Downtown says:

If you think no one uses the lirr you need to leave your block. Those are some crowded trains!
Dec. 29, 2009, 8:43 am
Gill Bates from Heights says:
Tina -

A little fact checking may be helpful.

The Atlantic Ave terminal is one of the 3 busiest in NY City - for subway and LIRR passengers.
Dec. 29, 2009, 8:45 am
John from BH says:
Actually, the station is quite busy. In addition to Brooklynites, there's lots of thru-traffic to lower Manhattan.

A better explanation of the delay, and an explanation of why building the terminal along with Atlantic Center Mall wasn't a Ratner responsibility, would be nice.
Dec. 29, 2009, 8:45 am
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Hey people it's completed! Why weren't there more compliants when it wasn't? Let's all move on to the next compliant, after all isn't that what Brooklynites are becoming or is? A bunch of whiny Manhattanites? Go back across the bridge, I hear there are a lot of empty apartments over there.
Dec. 29, 2009, 8:50 am
Bayof from Biscay says:
Heartened by sculpture in an otherwise modest and (Brooklyn-usual) self-effacing building. Now if only direct access from the subway station to the street were improved.... Ever try to get to Atlantic Terminal from the "Q" or "R" trains?
Dec. 29, 2009, 11:50 am
spelling from flatbush says:
"sneak peak"?
Dec. 30, 2009, 5:41 am
Gersh Kuntzman (Brooklyn Paper) says:
That was actually a pun that didn't work. Sorry, everyone!

Dec. 30, 2009, 2 pm
David from Fort Greene says:

I was in the new terminal entrance last week and it looks like there will be a corridor that links the Q and B platform under the Williamsburg Savings Bank to the main entrance. It was was still boarded up when I saw it, but it looks like a little path that runs under Hanson Place. Unfortunately, I think this means that you would have to repay if you wanted to walk from the 2,3 train platform to the Q,B platform using this new route.
Dec. 31, 2009, 12:44 pm
MTAJay from Downtown says:
"More than 50,000 commuters come through the station daily, whether via the subway or Long Island Rail Road. The new, spacious entrance will better accommodate the surge in riders if the nearby Barclays Center ever opens."

This station redo was designed with the Barclays Center in mind. so no, it will not serve that purpose.
Dec. 31, 2009, 1:59 pm
Carol from Bay Ridge says:
You can't compare building on an empty lot to doing construction in a station that is in use constantly. I applaud the men who renovate the subway stations for getting their work done in constricted circumstances.
Jan. 1, 2010, 7:54 am
Lisa from Clinton Hill says:
The long on-going construction was ridiculous, so pleased to see it finally completed. Stopped by last week on way to Target, and while atrium is nice addition, my first thought was that the design didn't seem functional for passengers waiting for their LIRR trains. For instance, are there really no benches to sit on while waiting for your train? Even subway platforms have that. If they are indeed there, I didn't see them.
Jan. 1, 2010, 12:09 pm
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
Maybe if the Barclays Center ever does open, there will finally be something worthy of blowing up. Then the stone barriers can be removed from the station entrance.
Jan. 4, 2010, 10:46 am
Aspen from Colorado says:
That station needs to link to the nearby "A" train some how. Also, PATH, the AirTrain, and the 2nd Avenue subway should have stops there.
Jan. 4, 2010, 1:31 pm
Tina from Lucielle Heights says:
On a roll? like a sandwhich?
I guess it's a real Long Island Baguette then!

I wonder how else this station can be compared to a sandwitch - it's juicy like a mushy tuna fish, it has crunch like snappy lettuce leaf, the passengers are tart like tomatoe slices, and it's covered in mayonaise!

They should call it Sandwhich station, ha ha ha!
Jan. 5, 2010, 10:04 am
Frank from Park Slope says:
I'm glad this project is finally done. But it did take an inexcusably long time. And the gigantic stone sarcophagus barriers in front of the station are an absolute atrocity and just flat out disrespectful of the public realm. This is the kind of stuff that makes New Yorkers hate the MTA. Even when they finally get a project done and, for the most part, they do a decent job of it, they still manage to ruin it.
Jan. 5, 2010, 4:42 pm
Dave from Jersey says:
I worked on the design of this project. yes there were some delays in its construction that could have been avoided. there alway is in hindsight. But to answer a few questions here. First, the constrcution was very complex unlike building a new building like ratner's mall. The existing structure was a hodgepodge of years of reconstructing and retrofitting. While removing the basement floor, we even found the original train turnaround that no one knew was still there (it was built 120 years ago). In order to keep service operating while relocating below-grade columns that essentially supported the building, work was performed in slow stages. it's one thing to build something new, but is a whole different story reconstructing something that you have no idea what there while keeping 10 active train lines in service.

As for Ratner building a $100 million MTA station, why would he?
Jan. 5, 2010, 5 pm
Dave from Jersey says:
Frank, you can thank homeland security for the massive pylons around the building. You can feel safe knowing no one can drive a truck bomb thru the front door, like that will ever happen...
Jan. 5, 2010, 5:04 pm
Jill from prospect heights says:
all that money ans still no proper elevators that go to the street level
Jan. 6, 2010, 9:50 am
kathy from park slope says:
tina -are u living in a bubble or on another
planet- check your facts about who takes the LIRR and there should have been spelled their good luck to you
Feb. 9, 2010, 1:14 pm

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