Every day during the week, I leave the synagogue where I pray the morning prayers and walk to the subway station located by Kew Gardens Road and Union Turnpike. It is a brisk walk that usually takes me about seven minutes, and depending on the route I take I will pick up the Metro News from a gentleman named Ron who is always happy to wish me a good morning and good day — I extend it to him as well. I descend down the stairs, usually in a crowd of people, and after giving my MetroCard a swipe I head down further onto the platform that has two sides to it, with access to both the E and the F trains.
I love that the name of the station is abbreviated to Union T’Pke. It is a long train station, as most are, and that is good — the longer the station, the longer the train that can be accommodated and the more people can cram onto the trains there.
Not all train stations in New York City are built alike. Most are not wheelchair and stroller accessible, but Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike is proudly one that is. As a parent with a toddler, let me tell you that this is a very good thing. Lugging fifty pounds of child and stroller up the stairs both ways is not fun — but it is a good way to develop upper body strength!
The station is far from perfect and is crumbling in many places. This can be expected of a train that runs all the time — you can take a train at one or three o’clock in the morning if you want. Major repairs and upgrades take place at night, but it is announced well in advance and alternatives are given. Cosmetic repairs like the one you can see is needed in this photo take years to take place.
What’s interesting about the subway system is that it is quite difficult to establish a queue system. People go in the train in any order, regardless of how long they have been waiting there.
Below you can see one of the sets of stairs going from the train platform to the mid level of the train station. I am always intrigued by the way that stairs are numbered. This one is P8 — a nice letter number combination, but not as nice as O8, which is basically three Os. I’m fond of circles.
Lastly, a photo not from Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike, but one which should give you something to consider over the long weekend. Lexington Avenue 63rd Street has three sets of long staircases and escalators. When the station is very busy, you will see people making long lines for the escalators, yet nearly nobody will take the stairs.
Some of the people are in a rush, yet they would rather wait than make the effort to take those stairs. Are they anticipating magical people movers when they get outside as well? Have a lovely long weekend.