Transit Talk: Untapping the G Train, a Photo-Essay

Not everyone checks the transportation conversation on Twitter as obsessively as I do, but even a casual visitor over the past week would notice that the G train was on the mind of transit-interested New Yorkers, and probably most of the people living in North Brooklyn. While the G was down from Hurricane Sandy, the MTA refused to give predictions of when the IND Crosstown service would be back online, with conspiracy theorists claiming that reconstruction on the G would simply be delayed until we stop asking about it and the service becomes defunct.

I wouldn’t count on that happening. I know it’s a low-density line, and I understand that connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan was a main concern for the MTA (as a Windsor Terrace resident, I can attest that getting out of the borough was a nightmare for days). But as a typical “new” Brooklynite, I can also attest that the G is absolutely vital to my interests. It connects the hipster backbone of Long Island City, Williamsburg, and Park Slope. It cuts the commute time to Western Queens in half. It is the only subway winding its way through the heart of Bed-Stuy.

The MTA will not simply leave the IND Crosstown to rust, but as the only non-shuttle that doesn’t enter Manhattan I think the poor G often gets short shrift. So, while it was down for the count, I decided to appreciate the G, to “untap” it and show you the gems just above ground along the line.

My route, trying to follow aboveground as closely as possible the train’s route

GoogleMaps told me that my journey from the first G-only stop, Fulton St., to the northernmost Brooklyn station, Greenpoint, would be 4.4 miles and take 1 hour and 27 minutes. Since I’ve found that GoogleMaps usually thinks my walking speed is a brisk jog, I planned for a longer trip. [Final time: 2 hours and 37 minutes]

Fulton St Station

Bible verses on the wall of 69 Lafayette Ave

Gourds talking to each other at 92 Lafayette Ave

Stairwell mural at 126 Lafayette Ave

“still moving” at 136 Lafayette Ave

Masonic temple at Clermont Ave and Lafayette Ave, next door to Queen of All Saints church

White rollerblades with flowers (a memorial?) tied to the stoplight at Lafayette Ave and Washington Ave

MTA workers surfacing the steps at Clinton-Washington Avenues Station

Bike parking at Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall, Lafayette Ave and St. James Pl

312 Lafayette Ave under construction

Classon Ave station

No Parking, with friendly enforcers

Climb up to the bench at 444 Lafayette Ave

Ornamentation at 474 Lafayette Ave

Bedford-Nostrand Avenues station

Poison and dogs at 551-553 Lafayette Ave

A splash of blue at 577 Lafayette Ave

Chicken coop at 535 Lafayette Ave

GreenThumb park on Lafayette Ave and Marcy Ave

Stay Cool at the Kosciuszko pool on Marcy Ave and Kosciuszko St

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on 685 Dekalb Ave

Bed-Stuy cats at 650 Marcy Ave

“U Like Chinese Food” at Willoughby Ave and Marcy Ave

Memorial for Mack at 599 Marcy Ave

“Flat Fix God Love You” at 580 Marcy Ave

Myrtle-Willoughby Avenues station

The grates were my G-train yellow brick road, although they weren’t usually this aesthetic

Pfizer plant at Flushing Ave and Union Ave (Marcy Ave turns into Union)

Flushing Ave station

Empty lot at Union Ave and Wallabout St

Acme Power Transmission, which inexplicably uses stuffed animals in its display, at 578 Broadway

Broad & Boerum, a Hasidic building in the former Lincoln Savings Bank

Broadway station

A modern obelisk? At 190 Union Ave

Metal copse at 251 Union Ave

Backed-up gas lines at S. 2nd St

Mural at Union Ave and Grand St

I liked the clover awning at 418 Union Ave

Metropolitan Ave station and the infamous Kellogg’s Diner

The former location of Our Lady of Mt. Caramel at Jackson St and Union Ave under the BQE

Architectural waves at 610 Union Ave

Uprooted tree from Hurricane Sandy in McCarren Park

Bradley Manning mural at 55 Nassau Ave

Nassau Ave station next to Yelena’s Shoe Repair, which I can corroborate is a good shoe place

A surprising wooden door at 671 Manhattan Ave

Greenpoint Savings Bank, now inhabited by Chase

A new CVS going in at Manhattan Ave and Milton St

Greenpoint station

On Wednesday morning, G train service was brought back online, albeit slowly, and I’m more thankful for it than ever. At least now, as I wend my way northward, I’ll be able to imagine the route overhead.

Follow the author at @kaygegay

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