Atlantic-Pacific Meet-up | September 30, 2009

Atlantic Pacific

Atlantic Avenue – Pacific Street is a station where ten (ten!) subway lines converge. (Only nine come together at Times Square – 42nd Street, the system’s busiest station). Don’t miss an opportunity – next Wednesday at 6:30 – to wander through the station with residents, subway station enthusiasts, and with a few special guests: environmental artist George Trakas, who made the hanging sculpture in the center of the station; critic and journalist Karrie Jacobs, a contributing editor to Metropolis and downtown Brooklyn resident, and the architect who conducted a major masterplan for the station’s renovation in the early 1990s, Fred Bland, managing partner at Beyer Blinder Belle, Architects & Planners LLP.

We’ll wander. We’ll check out some buskers. And we’ll talk about wayfinding, rationalizing rail platforms, what it meant to bring the BMT (letters) and the IRT (numbers) together, and what precedent the impending name change might set for the MTA. It’s the latest Omnibus / WNYC meet-up, in coordination with WNYC Culture’s excellent Door to Door series of commuter narratives and the related special focus on transit issues this month from both Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate.

Those of us who are lucky enough to live near Atlantic-Pacific are fond of getting to choose between the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, M, N, Q or R trains to get where we need to get on a daily basis. Trains from Atlantic-Pacific can take you to every corner of the city. And underground access to the LIRR provides easy access to Jamaica, Queens, to the rest of Long Island, or to JFK and the world beyond. We even got MoMA (and a certain buzz-generating masked man) to come to us.

And those journeys that terminate at the station also bring a diversity of urban options. Each exit brings you to a seemingly different city.

You can exit at the foot of the towering Willamsburgh Savings Bank, currently the tallest building in Brooklyn and recently converted from offices to high-end residential living, and then check out the cultural development of the BAM Cultural District, home to such institutions as the eponymous Brooklyn Academy of Music as well as the Mark Morris Dance Group, BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn and UrbanGlass.

You can exit into the anonymous malls of the Atlantic Terminal and the Atlantic Center and stroll up to the charming streets of Fort Greene. Or you can head across Flatbush to an altogether different kind of retail experience: the Fulton Mall, one of the most popular shopping destinations in the five boroughs with an incredible concentration of early twentieth century department store architecture (check out the elevator bank at Macy’s).

You can exit at Pacific Street and 4th Avenue, and wander among the stretch of Arab shops on Atlantic, or peer down the corridor of an upzoned 4th Avenue, with its odd mix of new twelve story buildings, tire shops, fast food joints and old industrial real estate.

And then there’s, uh, Atlantic Yards.

Come join us as we tour the station and hang out next Wednesday. We’ll meet at the northwest corner of Pacific Street and 4th Avenue at 6:30 p.m. No reservations are necessary, but please email us if you plan on attending so we can estimate audience size. Bring your Metrocard.

Image by Flickr user LarimdaME.

Cassim Shepard served as the founding editor of Urban Omnibus from its inception to 2014.