21st Street–Queensbridge (IND 63rd Street Line)
|New York City Subway station (rapid transit)|
|Address||21st Street & 41st Avenue|
Queens, NY 11101
|Line||IND 63rd Street Line|
|Services||F (all times)|
|Transit connections||MTA Bus: Q66, Q69, Q100, Q102, Q103|
|Platforms||2 side platforms|
|Opened||October 29, 1989|
|Passengers (2017)||3,157,675 4.9%|
|Rank||165 out of 425|
|Next east||Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue (express): F |
36th Street (local): no regular service
|Next west||Roosevelt Island: F|
|Next east||Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue: F|
|Next west||Roosevelt Island: F|
21st Street–Queensbridge is a station on the IND 63rd Street Line of the New York City Subway. Located at the intersection of 21st Street and 41st Avenue in the Queens neighborhood of Queensbridge, it is served by the F train at all times.
The station opened in October 1989 with the opening of the 63rd Street Line. From its opening until 2001, this was the terminal of the line, although it was not originally intended as a terminal. The 63rd Street Line was originally part of a plan for a Queens Bypass Line running along the Long Island Rail Road Main Line. However, due to the lack of funds, the line terminated here, with layup tracks going to 29th Street. As a result, the tunnel become known as the "tunnel to nowhere."
In December 2001, the 63rd Street Tunnel Connection opened, allowing trains from the IND Queens Boulevard Line to use the line. This station then became a through station, serving F express trains since then.
The current 63rd Street Line was the final version of proposals for a northern midtown tunnel from the IND Queens Boulevard Line to the Second and Sixth Avenue lines, which date back to the IND Second System of the 1920s and 1930s. The current plans were drawn up in the 1960s under the MTA's Program For Action. In the original 1960s plans, there would have been a station (in addition to or as an alternative to 21st Street–Queensbridge) located farther east at Northern Boulevard, one block north of the Queens Plaza station of the Queens Boulevard line. There would have been a pedestrian transfer passageway between the two stations.
The station was placed at 21st Street, serving the Queensbridge Houses to the west, and commercial and industrial buildings to the east. The station was added to the plans following lobbying from the local community. During construction, a large amount of disturbance was created along 41st Avenue, which runs through the heart of Queensbridge.
This station opened on October 29, 1989, along with the entire IND 63rd Street Line, serving as the line's northern terminal prior to the connection with the IND Queens Boulevard Line. The Q train served the station on weekdays and the B train stopped there on weekends and late nights; both services used the Sixth Avenue Line. For the first couple of months after the station opened, the JFK Express to Kennedy Airport also served the station until it was discontinued in 1990. The tunnel had gained notoriety as the "tunnel to nowhere" both during its planning and after its opening, with 21st Street being the line's only stop in Queens. The connection to the Queens Boulevard Line began construction in 1994 and was completed and opened in 2001, almost thirty years after construction of the 63rd Street Tunnel began.
|B1||Mezzanine||Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines, crossover|
Elevator at NW corner of 21st Street and 41st Avenue
|B2||Side platform, doors will open on the right|
|Southbound||← toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (Roosevelt Island)|
|Northbound||→ toward Jamaica–179th Street (Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue) →|
(No regular service: 36th Street)
|Side platform, doors will open on the right|
|B3||Track 1||← LIRR East Side Access (under construction)|
|Track 2||LIRR East Side Access (under construction) →|
This underground station's only mezzanine is at the east end of station adjacent to the Manhattan-bound platform. Access to both platforms is via an overpass above the tracks, with staircases, escalators and elevators to platform level. At this point, the station has a high ceiling. The platform walls as well as the floor are made of brick, and towards the top of the platform walls is a line of larger brown sheets, on these are the station signs at regular intervals that say "21 Street–Queensbridge." Above this is a thin black strip of metal and above this are yellow squares that take the platform walls up to the station ceiling that is made of concrete. The two side platforms do not have yellow tactile strips on the platform edges, which is a characteristic of newly renovated and ADA-accessible New York City Subway stations. There are also no columns between the two tracks or on the platforms, except near the mezzanine and overpass.
Outside of fare control, the mezzanine leads to two street stairs at the northeast corner of 21st Street and 41st Avenue. An elevator and escalators are at the northwest corner of the same intersection.
Until the connection to the Queens Boulevard Line opened, this station shared the characteristic of a two side platformed terminal station with Flatbush Avenue–Brooklyn College on the IRT Nostrand Avenue Line. This is an inefficient terminal setup, requiring passengers to know which track the next train will depart from before going to the platform level. As a terminal from 1989 to 2001, the station had tail tracks that continued eastward as far as 29th Street, ending at bumper blocks. Also, this station has "punch boxes", with buttons to indicate route selection to the train dispatcher; a control tower on the west end of Manhattan-bound platform, which can be used if necessary; and a diamond crossover switch to the west which was used to turn trains.
Stub tracks east of the station
East of the station, before the line connects to the IND Queens Boulevard Line, the tracks veer left while the tunnel wall goes straight, stopping around Northern Boulevard. This bellmouth is part of an intended "super-express" bypass of the IND Queens Boulevard Line running along the mainline of the Long Island Rail Road between Queens Boulevard and Forest Hills–71st Avenue planned in 1968. At a proposed station at Northern Boulevard, for which the 29th Street tail tracks might have also been built, a transfer concourse to the Queens Plaza station would have allowed transfers between local, express, and bypass trains.
The current bellmouth, built along with the Queens Boulevard connection, is two levels deep with two additional stub-end subway tracks named T1A and T2A. It is viable for future construction of the bypass or the Northern Boulevard transfer station. The original bellmouth stopped at 29th Street. The lower level of the bellmouth was excavated in 2003 for the LIRR East Side Access project, which also extended the subway stub tracks farther east towards Sunnyside Yard. Just above the connection sits the 29th Street Ventilation Complex, built with the connector, in the site of a former parking lot. West of the station, a second ventilation complex lies in Queensbridge Park between Vernon Boulevard and the East River.
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