Crown Heights commuters have two new reasons to celebrate this weekend. The Nostrand Avenue subway station has opened up a pair of entrances that have been close for three decades: The Bedford Avenue entrances to the A and C line were sealed off at the height of crime concerns in the area in 1991. The MTA opened them back up after a $2 million makeover on Tuesday.
The closure of the entrances forced nearby Brooklyn residents and commuters to trudge up to a quarter mile to access the cramped station, often in inclement weather.
As for the safety concerns, Sarah Meyer, the Chief Customer Officer for NYC Transit pointed out that the early 1990s were a different era.
“That was then, and this is now,” she said, adding that “the city is a much safer place, the subway is a much safer place.” The entrances were also renovated with new tiles, painting, lighting, and security features such as Help-Point intercoms and cameras.
While Meyer’s statement accurately reflects the overall decrease in crime within the MTA system, a recent rash of subway crimes in the are have rattled locals, who have seen an increased NYPD presence within stations.
In accordance with the MTA 2020-2024 capital plan, the station is also set to receive elevators to address accessibility concerns. The entrance reopenings will additionally provide spaces for improved social distancing within the station, helping to ensure that essential workers are able to commute as safely as possible.
Meyer later reiterated her commitment to customer safety by stating “I want to assure our customers that the MTA, along with our partners at the NYPD, are committed to providing riders with a safe experience in the transit system.”
This week’s announcement is just the latest installment of the station’s long, chaotic history. After its original completion in 1936, the Bedford Avenue entrance was immediately closed until community members successfully organized for its reopening in the 1950s only to see it close again in 1991. In the interim, jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard recorded the hard bop tune “Nostrand and Fulton” in homage to the station. Something to ponder the next time you take the A train to Sugar Hill.
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