by Kevin Walsh

BEFORE anyone says anything —since Forgotten New York can be the headquarters of Nitpickers International at times — yes, I know there are five shots on this One Shots page. I don’t have enough copy to make this a Forgotten Slice, which I title my intermediate-length posts. You, and I, will just have to live with the inconsistency.

I was out enjoying the winter weather that has settled over New York at last; December 2021 was a pussycat and the changing of the calendar has led to a changing of the temperature. I ambled down East 12th all the way to Avenue A, and the plan was to take the L train back to 8th Avenue, and then the A/C/E, whatever came first, to Penn Station.

I wanted to inspect the spanking new entrance to the L at Avenue A, which just opened in February 2020. The black railings and signboard are the new standard issue for renovated subway entrances. The shot is blurry because I must have jostled the camera just as I was pressing the shutter; I imagine there are cameras that emit boops and bleeps when that happens, but mine doesn’t.

This by the way is the first subway entrance of any sort to open at a lettered avenue in Manhattan, though there are a number of them in Brooklyn, which also has lettered avenues.

A portrait of Superman can be seen as you descend the steps. I am unsure whether this piece is by Katherine Bradford, whose “Queen of the Night” mosaics can be seen at the 1st Avenue entrances.

I have never seen Superman wearing yellow trunks. For most of his existence, he wore red trunks. If you haven’t followed Kal El in the comics or in the movies of late, he has ditched the trunks for the most part and goes without, which must mean a super something shows up prominently when Lois, Lana or Lori Lemaris are around.

As far as I know, the L train is the only line in the system that stops at a street named “1” and thus, the only occasion in which the mosaic bands at the platform ceilings have a “1.”

At the new Avenue A exit, the MTA had to extend those decorative mosaic bands for a foot or two. You can tell the old from the new ones, since the new ones are considerably sharper and cleaner. The BMT Canarsie Line was built from 1924 to 1928 and it was the last subway line to make extensive use of color mosaics, and subway designer Squire Vickers went all out, using many more colors than the earth tones usually employed, making the Canarsie Line the most rainbow-y of all the old subway lines.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Tom+M January 12, 2022 - 8:30 am

The sign above the stairs says to 8th Ave. Is there a second entrance across the street to access the Brooklyn bound trains, or it was just omitted from this sign?

Kevin Walsh January 12, 2022 - 3:28 pm

There must be because this only gets you to the westbound.

Alan January 12, 2022 - 10:08 am

When I went to City College is the late ’60s – early ’70s, as part of my daily commute, I took the LL (as it was called in those days) for its entire length – all 23 stations from Rockaway Parkway to 8 Av. Lots of time to get homework done.

Sunnysider January 12, 2022 - 10:44 am

There’s one possible reason Superman’s trunks are now yellow. Let’s face it. He is getting on in years and perhaps his bladder control isn’t what it used to be.

chris January 12, 2022 - 7:41 pm

When was the last time that tile work was cleaned?
I bet they look great clean

Allan Berlin January 14, 2022 - 1:02 pm

The First Av and 3rd Av stations are the only stations on the L in Manhattan which have separate entrances (across the street from each other) for 8 Av bound and Canarsie bound as they are side platform type.

Steve January 14, 2022 - 4:07 pm

There is no full mezzanine or other crossover/under at this station. There are separate sets of entrances across 14th St. for 8th Ave or Brooklyn bound trains.

Tom+M January 17, 2022 - 8:59 am

Steve and Allan, thank you for answering my above noted question about the entrances.

Kenneth Buettner January 20, 2022 - 8:11 am

Congratulations and thanks should be offered to the MTA for attempting a decent match to the existing mosaic. A few years ago they would have simply abandoned the idea and put in plain white tiles.


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