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Sheepshead Bay Essay

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Sheepshead Bay is an express station on the New York City Subway’s BMT Brighton Line. Located in the “downtown” district in the neighborhood of the same name, it is served by the B express train weekdays and Q local train at all times. The station’s design, format, looks, and structure have changed a lot in the past hundred years thanks to big technological advances.


When this station officially opened in 1908, it was the terminal for all trains that ran on the Brighton Line, as the extension to Brighton Beach was not built nor completed until 1917. The station was designed in a fashion that was considered brand new at the beginning of the 20th century. The platforms were made of wood and not as long as they are today. They were poured with concrete for safety reasons and extended north in the 1970s. Both extensions’ starting point can easily be noticed on because that section was not filled with concrete. Also in the 70s, metal canopies were added above both platforms as well as the staircases to the part-time entrance/exit at Voorhies Avenue. New lights and station signs replaced older ones in the 1980s and 90s.


This subway station received a major overhaul in 1998 and prior to it, the main entrance at Sheepshead Bay Road and East 16th Street contained older token-only turnstiles and a high exit-only turnstile. They were replaced in 1997 by new MetroCard turnstiles and a service gate, the latter of which has to be opened by the token booth clerk. In 2006, that gate was converted into an emergency exit, which allows passengers to open the gate on their own, but this triggers a loud safety alarm. For this reason, you should only use these types of gates in a real emergency, as the name implies, or else you can get ticketed and/or arrested. Behind the token booth was a passageway that led to a small indoor strip mall on the second floor of an adjacent building.


After the renovation, artwork called Postcards from Sheepshead Bay by Deborah Goletz was added to the station’s mezzanines. They can be seen near the stairwells and by the entrance doors, the latter of which contains windows in place of the human faces in the artwork that allow people to look into the station from the streets and vice-versa. Many old designs were removed, but the Voorhies Avenue entrance still has the old BMT-style “To Manhattan” and “To Coney Island” directional signs. The passageway to the mall was sealed. In 2001, MetroCard Vending Machines were added to both entrances. In 2007, advertisements for the nearby Coney Island Hospital were installed on the glass panels of the station’s platform signs. In 2008, a pedestrian overpass spanning the express tracks and connecting the two platforms was added near the north end of the station because two adjacent local stations are closed for rehabilitation until 2009.


Since its opening, this station has many areas that are now different from when they were back then. This was originally the terminal for the Brighton Line. Now there are four additional stations down south (Brighton Beach, Ocean Parkway, West 8th Street-New York Aquarium, and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue), with the B train terminating at Brighton Beach and the Q continuing on to Stillwell Avenue. The platforms were shorter and made of wood with nothing underneath back in 1908, but are now longer and filled with concrete. When I first rode on the subway, the station had short, token-only turnstiles. Now it has taller, MetroCard turnstiles. A high exit-only turnstile stood by the token booth, but as now been replaced with an emergency gate. There used to be a passageway to an indoor strip mall nearby. Now it has been sealed off.


Sheepshead Bay, as well as just about every other station in the New York City Subway system, has undergone major changes to improve its design and quality. This has kept this station open for use for over a hundred years and more and more people are now riding the subway. Our mass transit system will continue to improve as technology keeps advancing in the coming years.

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