The MTA says it will finally fix up one of the most dilapidated stations in Flatbush, but residents who fear that the Parkside Avenue station will fall down around their ears say the long-neglected train stop is going to need a lot more than a fresh coat of paint.
Straphangers say that, in stunning post-apocalyptic fashion, nature is actually trying to reclaim the station, which suffers from leaky roofs, peeling paint, falling concrete, and vegetation as big as trees sprouting from the cracks.
“I hope [the MTA’s plans] are ambitious enough to address all of the problems at Parkside,” said Rudolph Delson, the chairman of the Parkside Project Committee, a volunteer group that has spent the last year pushing the MTA and the city to beautify the Parkside Avenue station. “For $20, you can re-sole your crummy, leaky, moldy old shoes; for $100, you can buy a new pair. I hope the MTA is not going to just re-sole Parkside, and tell us to wear it for another 30 years.”
The Parkside Avenue station was built as a regal gateway to Prospect Park in 1905 but it has slowly decayed over the years, longtime commuters say.
“[The station] has some dangerous infrastructure issues,” said Madeleine Fix-Hansen, who lives near the station at Ocean and Parkside avenues and has prodded the city into redesigning the intersection. “The supporting structures are visibly cracking.”
The MTA is currently taking bids for the Parkside Station rehab, but a spokesman would not say how extensive — or expensive — the renovation would be.
“We are not renovating the entire station,” said an agency spokeswoman. “We are doing component work at Parkside Avenue.”
The project also includes repairs to the Beverly Road and Church Avenue stations, the spokeswoman said.
But residents are demanding that the Parkside station receives the same amount of attention that five stations on the Brighton Line did during a $161 million makeover last year.
“It’s high time the MTA and city treat these great old stations with the respect they deserve,” said Tim Thomas, a resident and founder of a blog named after the Parkside subway station.
“A local train stop is the heart of a neighborhood. When it falls into disrepair and neglect, the whole neighborhood feels the collective bummer. Don’t just give it a slapdash paint job, give it a royal homecoming!”