Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


Zipping down the Harlem River Drive on the M98 Bus to 129th Street to Gridlock on Every Avenue. Walking down Lexington Avenue Past Closed Subway Stations to 59th Street – No Subways = Gridlock Day, Part 1

This post is the first in a multi-post series about my day wandering down to Midtown Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy when there was no subway service and the only train service to Manhattan was the Metro-North Harlem Line that resumed hourly service after 2pm, all bus service was fare-free.

Happy Halloween! A day that will be always be remembered as when the city tried to wake up from a storm but was hampered with complete gridlock, the subway system damaged and still completely closed.

Today I woke up, knew that there was no subway or train service anywhere in New York City but had to see how the city would function without it. I was debating my form of transportation, the city bus system running for free or my bicycle. I decided I would start on the bus system and If I wasn’t getting anywhere out of my neighborhood then come back home and get on bike to ride downtown.

The main reason I chose to even try the bus is having the M98. This bus runs non-stop from my neighborhood to 125th Street and Park Avenue (it goes down Lexington from 116th Street south). I made this decision just a few minutes before the last bus of the morning rush hour (its a peak hour only route) was scheduled to depart. I rushed out to my nearest bus stop at 183rd Street & Fort Washington Avenue. There was one person waiting (the stop is usually quite sleepy with many boarding down the hill) and waited, the 9:38 scheduled departure time passing. Soon I saw a bus running northbound up the hill Not In Service but with a Limited Sign in its window. I chat with the other two people at the stop, one who is tying to get down to his office in Midtown and is looking for the M4, first the M4 comes and the M98 right behind it at 9:52, 15 minutes late. I get on and the bus gets full at the intermediate stops on 178th Street.

We zip down the Harlem River Drive (without any traffic) and and bus gets off the highway at Park Avenue and 135th Street. On Park Avenue beneath the closed Metro-North elevated we get caught in the worst traffic jam I’ve ever been in. The next bus stop isn’t until 125th St. People finally start wanting to get off but the driver won’t open any doors saying its not safe to do so into traffic (and clearly against mta rules). Eventually at 129th Street at a red light he does and I jump off the backdoor.

Then its time to visit the closed Harlem 125th Street Metro-North Station. The station is locked and secondary staircases up to the platforms are closed but I’m able to get a picture of a LCD Display saying service suspended:

I walk over to the 125th Street & Lexington Avenue(4 photos added) subway station and photographed its entrances.

Traffic on Lexington looks pretty bad heading downtown and decide I might as well try Second Avenue and the M15. There quite a few people waiting but also a few buses starting there long runs to South Ferry. I get on and the bus driver makes an announcement saying “The bus is a M15 making select stops to South Ferry and all stops will be announced and to expect major delays with all traffic lights out south of 23rd St.” The automated annoucements saying its a MetroCard city. The first part of the ride is relatively quick with a bus lane until we get to the Second Avenue Subway Construction north of 100th Street and traffic becomes much worse with more total gridlock. I get off, this bus trip taking about 1/2 an hour to go a mile and a quarter. I enjoy seeing the Second Avenue Subway construction (this part of the Upper East Side I’m rarely in) and looks like some workers from the contractor were already getting started. I walked over to Lexington and got some photos of the 96th Street Station(5 Photos). I get my first photos of the usual advertising displays now saying PSAs that the station is closed. Two of the staircases are totally open so I venture down following to women. I get to the mezzanine and realize there transit employees helping to start clean up the station but no one says a word as I get some pictures.

I just miss the M101 Limited and start walking, the traffic is so bad that I fully walk faster than it (and caught up to a BxM1 that is only discharging its passengers) before I get to 86th Street(6 Photos)

I continued walking to 77th Street(3 Photos), another gate was open on the downtown side but I decided to not press my luck and venture down.

Next was 68th Street-Hunter College(5 Photos) as I kept walking.

Then Lexington Avenue/63rd Street(7 Photos) where I found a very board cop was standing beneath the escalator entrance, which had its gate up and instead the portable yellow barriers that are used when their doing maintenance on an elevator or escalator. There were sandbacks within plastic sheeting that was trying to keep water out of the elevator shaft. The staircase entrance just had caution tape.

I continued walking south to the mega-station at 59 Street/Lexington Avenue and got its diverse closed entrances. I even decided to step into Bloomingdales Department Store (which was full of foreign tourists) and nearly completely open and wandered downstairs to find the closed entrance directly from the department store to the subway station: