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The Big Screecher’s riding the rails again! • Brooklyn Paper

The Big Screecher’s riding the rails again!

Screech: Carmine Santa Maria, better known as the Big Screecher, took the subway for first time in 25 years on Thursday, thanks to new, handicap-accessible facilities that were installed at the Bay Parkway subway station along the D line.
Community Newspaper Group / Colin Mixson

There’s no stopping the Big Screecher now!

The MTA snipped the ribbon on a renovated Bay Parkway D train station replete with ramps and a new elevator on Thursday, allowing Courier Life columnist Carmine Santa Maria — better known to scores of readers as the Big Screecher — to take his first subway ride in more than 25 years.

Carmine was clearly excited, and a bit nervous, as he rolled his trusty scooter Tornado onto the new elevator, taking him to the el platform at 86th Street.

Within a few minutes, he was back on the rails, taking a Coney Island-bound D train to the People’s Playground.

The Big Screecher marveled at the changes technology has wrought on the city’s transit system over the past two decades.

“There’s air conditioning,” he gasped.

And the train was clean, too — at least compared to the graffiti-strewn subway cars the Big Screecher rode in 1987.

“I can see out the windows,” Carmine exclaimed. “It’s incredible!”

Carmine’s adventure only lasted three stops, but it was a memorable trip for Brooklyn Daily’s favorite curmudgeon, who just recently celebrated the MTA’s decision to bring the B64 back to Harway Avenue with a heaping serving of cake.

The Big Screecher’s been to Coney Island before, of course — in fact he was there in June to go mermaid watching — but he hasn’t taken the subway to the amusement district in decades because he couldn’t get Tornado up the stairs to the 86th Street el line, the closest train to his home.

But the MTA’s $88-million rehab project that upgraded D train stations between 71st Street and New Utrecht Avenue and Bay 50th Street and Stillwell Avenue changed all that.

Santa Maria’s ride came to an end when his D train screeched to a halt at the Stillwell Avenue station. But his quest ended with a suitable reward — a Nathan’s Famous hot dog on the Boardwalk!

Yet the freedom frankfurter was a bit too rich for Carmine’s tastes.

“They’re $3.75 a piece now,” he complained. “I can’t afford any more!”

Hey, they don’t call him the Big Screecher for nothing.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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