Exclusive Preview of the Refurbished Bay Ridge Ave. Station
The new Bay Ridge Avenue renovation has been completed. The Ambrose Light has taken an exclusive look at the new features of the station during a soft opening this Thursday morning with the elected official most responsible: Marty Golden!
We met with Mr. Golden in the pre-dawn twilight to tour the new station. Golden sits on the four-person MTA Capital Program Review Board which is the sole elected group with veto power over the MTA’s building and renovation programs. Golden was pressing the MTA to finish construction before the election cycle of his chosen City Council candidate John Quaglione. “I tell you, it’s great. It’s great to be here to reopen this brand-new old station. It’s great to take credit for this huge expenditure of taxpayer dollars, which I was very certain would be a public relations victory for myself and everyone associated with me.” added Golden, who refused to put his name anywhere near the project in it’s waning months.
Without further ado, the top seven new features of the $24 million dollar renovation!
#7: Station Canopies
A welcome feature greeting straphangers is the installation of new station entrance canopies. “It keeps out the rain and cruel, blistering sun,” explained Golden. The station is hoping to reduce slip-and-falls and snow removal costs by protecting the entrances from the elements. Senator Golden also pointed out the new lighting systems which illuminated him in the predawn darkness: “These are lovely, non-UV bulbs. Very important.”
#6: Anti-Homeless Laser Defense Grid
On the renovated mezzanine, we passed through a dazzling array of lights. “That’s to keep out homeless, keep in the C.H.U.Ds” explained Golden. Prompted by the complaints of well-heeled citizens, a new laser defense grid now detects homeless people who wander into the station looking for life-giving warmth. “People were frightened by the sleeping, occasionally smelly eyesores that made us feel bad for not building more affordable housing in this district.” said Golden. “The laser grid, part of my endorsed City Council candidate John Quaglione’s ‘Eyes on the Tracks’ program, will detect these bums and alert authorities to send them off to neighborhoods that are less affluent, and thus more capable of caring for them.”
“Forget Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. The Enhanced Station Initiative is my new favorite euphemism!” — Janet Crowsky, local resident
#5: Innovative Modern Art
At track level, we were met with stunning new artwork, part of the MTA Permanent Arts Program. A series of abstract interactive sculptures, these pieces have attracted mixed reviews, but Golden came to their defense: “These beautiful sculptures are extremely advanced, cutting-edge designs.” However, some art critics were upset at the inclusion of post-minimalist installation motifs over more traditional functionalism that fits the aesthetic of the neighborhood. Said Jen Moovey, a classical art lover who was participating in a protest outside the station:
“These weak sculptures are too laden with dialectical tension they can’t support. They exist to dismiss people’s needs. Confusing, inaccessible, it fails to provide comfort or beauty… and they are still as expensive as other, more traditional forms. Why not increase the number of classically-inspired benches, for example, rather than keeping the same amount?”
#3: Historically Preserved Wall Tiles
The $24 million dollar project (all three stations along the line cost a reported $72 million) involved briefly pressure-washing the existing wall tiles. “These tiles are historic,” said Golden. “It’d be a shame to remove them. So we pressure-washed the walls of the last 15 years of grime in order to reveal the older, historic grime beneath.” Said one thrilled straphanger seeking out partially-visible graffiti scratchings: “I feel like I’m a time-traveler to 1992! Look at this one… I can just make out ‘N*Sync Rulez’. Wow, it’s like I’m in a museum.” In addition to preserving our history, money was preserved for installing soon-to-be-obsolete USB ports and lucrative video ad systems.
“It really makes waiting 20 minutes for the R-Train more visually engaging.” — Adeem Ibragimov, store owner
#3: Complaints Box for Justin Brannan
Back at the mezzanine level, State Senator Golden pointed out a sleek complaints box, a printer that only prints MTA lawsuits, and a stack of envelopes pre-addressed to Joe Lhota. “These are reserved for the private use of Justin Brannan,” Golden muttered. “He insists on harassing the MTA on completion dates, improved service… Meanwhile my boy John [Quaglione] is addressing the real issues MTA needs to focus on… like suspending alternate-side-parking for the final three weeks of the renovation. It’ll save six parking spots a week.”
The complaints box isn’t the only Brannan-centric amenity at the station. The perpetually-online Democratic candidate has at least one USB charging port reserved for his private use on each station platform.
#2: “Activity Zones” Surrounding Station Entrances
Golden declined to return to the surface-level as our preview tour came to a close around 7 am, where we observed the new, clearly marked and labeled ‘activity zones’. The painted areas along the sidewalks are intended to keep costumed performers and pamphleteers from getting too close to the subway entrances, blocking commuters. One commuter waiting to board the B9 bus seemed pleased: “Once, a really skanky looking Elmo got in my face asking for campaign contributions and trying to shake my hand. It was not pleasant. At least now they can’t edge too close to the stairs, y’know?”
“Can’t wait for Marty and the MTA to shut down 77th street and 96th Street next!” — Adrian Mulk, student
#1: Quantum Teleportation Fields
Finally, the pièce de résistance of the entire project, and the major objective of the multi-million dollar renovation: brand new teleportation pads. Citing consistent opposition by the local Community Board 10, MTA Managing Director Veronique Hakim declared to an assembled throng, “These new, experimental teleportation pads will whisk disabled individuals to the platform and automatically deduct the cost of a fare from their Metrocards. To address Community Board concerns, the teleportation field does not remove any parking lanes, nor will it hinder any buses or cause them to make wider turns, as was the concern at 86th street.” Regardless, a representative of the Community Board was nearby to hand-deliver a stern letter stating that the 50-person group of locals, untrained in quantum physics, were not properly consulted and allowed input on the highly technical and potentially Nobel Prize winning innovation.
The inaugural (and apparently unscheduled) teleportation was made by Senator Golden, who unexpectedly blinked into existence mere feet from the assembled opening-day crowd. “What the…” blurted Golden, his eyes sharply narrowing at the sunlight cascading down 4th avenue, blind terror etched into his face. Emitting a hiss while his skin uncharacteristically bubbled into an ashen mist, Golden quickly bolted down the steps of the station with alacrity laudable for a man of his age. As the crowd cheered the technical innovation, Democratic State Senate hopeful Ross Barkan explained Golden’s supernatural speed to The Ambrose Light: “He’s always on the treadmill at Harbor Fitness.”
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7 New Features of the Refurbished Bay Ridge Ave. Station was originally published in The Ambrose Light on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.