Rays of daylight cascaded through the glass ceiling of the new Long Island Rail Road Terminal as Brooklyn resident Krystle James leaned against the twin staircases leading from the sub-ground level upto either Flatbush Avenue or Hanson Place.
“This is really nice,” said James, who was waiting for her train to Long Island to visit friends. “I just came back from Georgia and was a bit surprised. This is my first time seeing this and it’s really nice.”
James was just one of the many commuters utilizing the concourse of the terminal below the ground level.
Also on this level is a waiting room for Long Island commuters, LIRR information boards, bathrooms, ticket windows and entrances to both the city’s subway system and the LIRR.
After nearly six years of construction, the $116 million project is expected to officially open next week.
The project brought together the resources and coordinated planning of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city’s Economic Development Corporation and developer Forest City Ratner to revitalize Brooklyn’s major transportation complex, according to a 2004 press release announcing the project.
FCR owns the Atlantic Terminal Mall, which leads into the new transit entrance.
The company is also developing the Atlantic Yards project at the Atlantic/Flatbush Avenues intersection building, which includes the Barclays Center Arena.
As part of the Atlantic Yards project deal with the MTA, FCR is making other improvements to MTA entrances at the borough’s largest transit hub, as well as to the Vanderbilt Railyard.
According to the 2004 press release, the new LIRR terminal complex includes an enlarged LIRR concourse area with natural light that features new customer service areas, a new elevator, new stairs, and widened corridors.
It also includes platform enhancements including resurfacing with granite tile, a decorative metal ceiling, new lighting and a new public address system.
“I’ve seen them making this for a long time,” said Shatasha Brown of Flatbush as she walked through the new concourse with a friend and a young child in a stroller. “This is looking really cute, and it’s good they’re bringing a basketball team here. Brooklyn should have its own team like every other city has its own team.”
At press time, FCR’s financial contribution to the project wasn’t clear.