More about Underground spaces

These offices are scattered throughout the Transit System. Many are located in subway mezzanines and platforms, behind closed doors. While many of the transit workers know where they are, most go un-seen by the riding public. To most transit riders they are just another mysterious set of doors leading to who-knows-what. When you open a door on a subway mezzanine it can lead to something as simple as a cleaners closet with a drop sink and some cleaning supplies. Other times it can lead to a well lit hallway that goes on as far as the eye can see, lined with office spaces.These are well constructed spaces with all manner of plumbing and facilities, heating and ventilation, A/C and all electrical services. Most have good flooring and paneling with offices and conference rooms that rival anything that can be found at 2 Broadway. ( without the spectacular views, of course ) Now, many of these great spaces are operating at a reduced capacity while others have been abandoned completely. To understand these huge mezzanine spaces we must first understand the history of the IND.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        IB Image                                                             IB Image                                                                                                                                                                                        What is now the NYC Transit Authority originally consisted of three separate divisions, the IRT, BMT and IND.  When the IRT first opened back in 1904, it was designed and  run as a private company for many years. The BRT, which later re-formed to become the BMT, was created by a merger of many smaller, private companies. Both of these private companies were purchased by the city in June of 1940, when all three divisions were merged as one under the Board of Transportation banner. Later, in 1953 they became the New York City Transit Authority.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The only division that was built as a wholly city owned and operated entity, was the IND. Planned in the 1920's,  the "Independent Subway System" was designed and built with an eye on future expansion. Because it was municipally owned, money was not as big of a factor as it would have been with a private concern and the planners thought BIG. Unfortunately, when the Great Depression hit, many of these expansion projects had to be shelved. Most of these projects remain on the shelf while others, like the 2nd avenue subway, are STILL under construction. Originally, The IND was supposed to house all of the management offices, shops, storehouses, workers and locker rooms needed to run the system, within it's underground mezzanines. Some locations have utilized this space, while the vast majority have not. The stations that have not utilized the space remain a vast, un-tapped resource. On average the un-used spaces on IND platforms run in excess of 60,000 sq. feet each.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      IB ImageIB Image                            IB Image                                                                                                                                                                                              To maximize the savings from moving out of 2 Broadway, ( see; real estate craziness story ) the first step after 130 Livingston is re-populated would be to re-occupy the offices underground that have been abandoned. These are excellent office spaces for mid and lower level managers as well as reporting quarters for workers and it would not take much work to bring them back to full operating status. The second step would be to document, design and develop the un-used mezzanine spaces into viable offices and reporting quarters. This space is wholly owned by the MTA so the only costs involved would be construction costs. No leases, no rent, no taxes. TWU workers have proven time and time again that they do this work better and cheaper than anyone else. By doing the work with in-house labor the MTA could further keep the costs low. This will translate into TREMENDOUS SAVINGS for the MTA and the riding public at large.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Of course, as good as these ideas are, the MTA will not under take them without some serious prodding. That's why we would ask you to take a minute and write to your politicians and tell them how you feel about these issues. We have a convenient button on the space bar for just that purpose.                                                                                                                                                                      These pictures will help to illustrate how some of these underground spaces can rival even  the best of above ground offices.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     IB Image  IB ImageIB ImageIB ImageIB ImageIB Image