HUNTERS POINT AVENUE STATION

by Kevin Walsh

I haven’t written about the Hunters Point Avenue station for about a decade, but it’s one of my favorites because it’s one of a select few stations in the NYC subway in that it’s an underground station that’s positioned just before its line jumps into the light as it comes above ground. In fact I haven’t enumerated all the stations in the system that do this and I’m aware of one other, Carroll Street on the F/G. Dyckman Street on the #1 does the opposite, it’s outdoors just out of one of the deepest tunnels in the system.

When the Flushing Line opened in 1915, it connected just two stations: grand Central and Vernon-Jackson. A year later, it was extended here to Hunters Point Avenue and an elevated station at Court Square, and in 1917, from Queensboro Plaza all the way to 103rd Street. Further extensions east to Main Street by 1929 and west to Times Square by 1927 and Hudson Yards in 2015 followed.

Subway station designer Squire Vickers did a masterful job with tilework, mosaics and terra cotta in the 1910s. When the station was built, 49th Avenue, beneath which the station is located, was still called Hunters Point Avenue; today the name exists only east of Dutch Kills.

I never noticed it before but the HP’s on the station tiled pillars are two large pieces of pottery. As a rule, on tiled pillars, either affixed metal signs or mosaics signs (on the Canarsie Line) are employed.

Since I am a transit buff I keep looking for places that have potential as subway-railroad transfers. At one time, Hunters Point may have been one of these since the #7v Hunters Point Avenue station and the LIRR Hunters Point station are so close together. But this is located in something of a no man’s land and the LIRR station is little used in the mornings and evenings.

Many years ago when I was in Flushing, there was a breakdown of some kind on the #7 and passengers were then placed on the LIRR Port Washington Branch at Flushing Main Street, which made its way to the Hunters Point station, and passengers then had a free transfer to the #7 here; apparently the problem was west of Woodside, which would have been a more logical transfer. Normally the Port Washington takes the tunnel into Manhattan and avoids Hunters Point completely.

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

7/26/2022

10 comments

Patrick July 27, 2022 - 2:45 am

It’s been a long time and may be mistaken but I have recollection that you could see daylight from Essex/Delancey Street on the J/M line and also from the Canal Street on the Q. Maybe not as close as Hunters Point platform is to the outside.

4th Ave/9th Street on the F/G is similar to Dykman, just outside the tunnel?

Is it Prospect Park or Parkside Station on the Brighton line is a half in half out of the tunnel arrangement? I need to go back to these places.

Reply
Kenneth Buettner July 27, 2022 - 5:15 am

Steinway, he original builder of the line, only intended it to be an extension of his Queens trolley network, to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. The eventual extensions eastward to Flushing were the later visions of Belmont and others.

Reply
David Vanette July 27, 2022 - 6:11 am

Where does Prospect Park on the Brighton Line fit? That station starts in the tunnel but ends up outside in the open cut. Also, I think Grant Ave onthe A line does this as it leaves Brooklyn into Queens.

Reply
Andy July 27, 2022 - 9:08 am

Thank you for posting. I’ve been using this station or passing through on the #7 for more years than I care to remember.

The LIRR service to and from its Hunterspoint Avenue Station has always been peak-hour and peak-direction only. Its users typically are Nassau and Suffolk residents who work in the East Midtown area and prefer the #7 line transfer as opposed to backtracking from Penn Station. The opening of LIRR service to Grand Central later this year will no doubt induce those folks to stop using the Hunterspoint/#7 path. However, LIRR will continue Hunterspoint Avenue train service after Grand Central opens because there are persons who work in Long Island City. Additionally, the diesel trainsets travelling from Long Island in the morning must travel to Long Island City station for storage and servicing during the day.

The preliminary LIRR schedules for the Grand Central opening, posted on the MTA website (https://new.mta.info/agency/long-island-rail-road/lirr-to-grand-central/schedules) show eleven AM peak and nine PM peak trains using Hunterspoint.

One curious fact that can’t be explained is the LIRR calls it “Hunterspoint” and the #7 subway calls it “Hunters Point.”

Reply
Allan Berlin July 27, 2022 - 9:49 am

3rd Av/149 St on the 2 and 5 comes very close. It about 10 feet (or so) from the end of the platform to the tunnel portal and daylight.

Reply
Allan Berlin July 27, 2022 - 12:09 pm

I forgot to mention, 137St/Broadway on the 1 would also fit the criteria.

Reply
jerry friedman July 27, 2022 - 4:36 pm

I remember from my youth in late ’70s/early ’80s how HP station (and also Vernon-Jackson), were the stations that no one ever seemed to get on or off at, certainly on the weekends which is when I did most of my subway joyriding. And then when I was of driving age, my dad taught me the trick of driving to the weekend ghost town of Long Island City to park for free on the street, and use HP or VJ stations for a MUCH quicker trip to Manhattan from Whitestone than would have otherwise been the case via Q44 bus and #7 train! (no free and easy parking anymore, that’s for sure!)

But as noted above, when I did pass through occasionally during a weekday rush hour, I would be amazed at how many people actually did use HP (not so much VJ) to transfer to the LIRR.
(PS – my dad knew the guy who operated the small parking lot wedged in between the subway portal and the LIRR tracks. What a great train watching spot that was when he would take me and my brother down there!)

Reply
John Dereszewski July 27, 2022 - 6:41 pm

I was also thinking of mentioning the 137/Broadway station, which I sometimes used when I attended CCNY. The interesting thing about that station is that instead of rising when it emerges from the tunnel, the line stays perfectly as it passes over Manhattan Valley until it returns to the underground somewhere beyond 125th Street.

Reply
Brad G July 28, 2022 - 9:02 am

Grant ave station in Brooklyn is another station that is close to becoming an outside line.

Reply
Joe+Brennan July 28, 2022 - 11:08 am

The Hunter’s Point Avenue LIRR station was built “expressly to permit commuters to change to the IRT trains [..] a block away” — Vincent Seyfried’s LIRR history v.7. But it opened in 1914, two years before the subway station! “high wooden platforms” he adds. Now was it “always” rush hours only? I cannot confirm, but I think so.

Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.