April 13, 2012
The figures have been parsed and examined over at the transit blog Second Avenue Sagas. However, there was one particular statistic that SAS pointed out that I found interesting. Times Square, with nearly 190,000 riders a day, is not surprisingly the busiest station in the city. But the quietest station is Beach 105th Street, way out in the Rockaways, with an average of just 255 passengers a day. That is an incredible disparity. The reason is that Beach 105 is served by the S shuttle line, which only runs to Broad Channel and back with an additional 10 express A trains for commuters. Also, there is not much immediately around Beach 105th Street...just a Key Foods and some industrial sites. I actually have been there, shooting a student film back in the 90's and I can say that part of the reason we were out there is that there were absolutely no people...especially in the middle of February. Brrrr.
I decided to look up the history of the lonley little station and, surprisingly, it is older than the actual NYC subway system. The original station opened in 1880, was called Seaside, and served as a stop on the Long Island Railroad. After the station burned down four times (something that apparently happened a lot out in the windy Rockaways), it was finally replaced with a concrete viaduct that remains today. The MTA took over Beach 105th Street in 1956 and incorporated the line into its subway system.