Church Ave., Brighton Line

I still consider the amazingly complex New York City subway to be my "home" system, even though I haven't lived anywhere near there for over 45 years.  I likely took my first subway ride on it in the late 1940s, before I was aware of the world around me.  But from earliest childhood that I can remember, everything about the system fascinated me.

The  IRT's "Nostrand Avenue Line" was our family's closest subway access, and so I developed an early loyalty to the Interborough, and with it, certain negative (although sometimes envious) feelings toward the BMT and the IND.  It was almost like a Dodgers -Yankees - Giants baseball sort of thing.  The baseball rivalry and  the system designations and those feelings are long gone.

In those few glorious years of late-1950s pre-teen subway riding, before I moved away, I'd go all over, reaching into many far-off (and sometimes unsettling) neighborhoods.  Venturing past Nostrand on the Church Avenue bus either to the Brighton Line or to the IND became an opportunity for exploration and discovery.  I pretty much knew all the routes and transfer points on the whole system after a while, although I couldn't ever recite all the various service changes that took place late at night or on weekends.

I'm the width of a continent removed from New York City now, and have lost that sense of tremendous familiarity that used to come upon me as I went through the turnstiles.  But I do occasionally get back to the big city, and there still is that old push and pull that grips me.  The MTA is fascinating like no other urban rail place in the country.

This photo is from the mid-1980s, and shows the outdoor Church Ave. station on the Brighton Line.  Two of the line's four tracks are in view.

Previous in Series

Next in Series: Broadway Junction