New LIRR Atlantic Terminal Pavilion Opens

LIRR Atlantic Terminal
Exterior view of the new MTA Long Island Rail Road Atlantic Terminal Pavilion. Photo courtesy of the MTA Long Island Rail Road.

Anyone who has used the Flatbush Avenue/Atlantic Terminal for the Long Island Rail Road, has noticed it being under construction for the last few years. The majority of the work focused on the creation of a new pavilion. A few days before the end of 2009, “The Brooklyn Paper” had a story which took a sneak peak at the soon to be unveiled work. Here is a little more from Stephen Brown:

After nearly six years of construction, the new entrance to the Long Island Rail Road’s critical Atlantic Terminal at Flatbush Avenue is finally open to straphangers.

Though the ground-floor entrance is blocked off until next week’s grand opening, The Brooklyn Paper got a sneak peak of the concourse, which can be accessed via LIRR platforms.

Commuters looking for the ticket office will find that it has moved to a new location on the concourse below the ground floor entrance, where natural light shines through glass that spans from the road to the ceiling, offering views of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower across the street.

Bringing in natural light to the concourse below street-level was one of the top priorities of John di Domenico, the head architect with the Queens-based firm, di Domenico and Partners, which designed the facility.

“As a commuter, light serves as a timepiece, as well as being pleasant — and free,” he said, adding that the previous entranceway had been cramped and poorly lit.

One of the distinctive features of the new space is a rough-hewn granite sculpture featuring craggy geometric shapes that loom over commuters emerging from train platforms.

Click here for the complete story.

Now lets fast forward to today where the MTA Long Island Island Rail Road officially opened the new pavilion with a ceremony this morning. Unfortunately I could not attend the event due to business matters I needed to address. However the agency sent out a press release to me a few minutes ago talking about the pavilion:

Brooklyn’s historic transit hub at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues – where MTA Long Island Rail Road customers can transfer for connections with 10 subway lines – has a new, $108 million home starting today with the opening of the Atlantic Terminal Pavilion.

The three-story limestone, granite and glass structure features a soaring atrium that allows natural light to reach the below ground LIRR concourse and subway station. Two sweeping staircases provide direct access from the street to the concourse below. The Terminal building is linked internally to an office building and retail complex.

While the interior of the new entry pavilion provides customers with open spaces and an impressive overlook of the terminal, the arced vessel shaped exterior restores a “civic presence” to the Flatbush Avenue site, according to Brooklyn native John di Domenico, the architect of di Domenico & Partners, LLP who led the design of the Entry Pavilion.

“This new terminal means improved interconnectivity between the Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit’s subways and buses – with better information and a more spacious, comfortable and accessible facility,” said Jay H. Walder, Chairman and CEO of the MTA. “The glory of the original 1907 Flatbush Avenue Terminal has been restored in modern form.”

“This grand new entry pavilion will benefit our customers for generations to come as well as become a landmark for Brooklyn,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “The sunlit atrium and three-story exterior evoke the transit terminals of past eras that properly greeted travelers at such a busy hub.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said: “The spectacular Atlantic Terminal Pavilion will not only serve as a 21st century transportation hub for tens of thousands of daily LIRR, subway and bus riders, but this magnificent facility will let visitors to our borough know—in dramatic fashion—that they have arrived in Brooklyn, USA and our vibrant Downtown. And what a pleasure it will be for our neighbors in Nassau County (aka Brooklyn Near East) and Suffolk (aka Brooklyn Far East) to enjoy visiting us more often. Bravo to the MTA Long Island Rail Road and the Federal Transit Administration for making this project a reality and helping to keep Brooklyn moving—and growing.”

The renewed facility serves approximately 25,500 LIRR customers each day as well as approximately 31,650 NYC Transit subway customers. LIRR customers can transfer to the 2,3,4,5, B, D, M, N, Q & R lines as well as five bus routes.

Work on the project, begun in 2002, was done in two phases in order to coordinate improvements with MTA New York City Transit work on their subway facilities and a private developer, Forest City Ratner.

The new Pavilion includes a new ticket office, public rest rooms, grand stairs, customer waiting area, police and employee facilities, granite floor tiles, Arts for Transit installation, information signage, lighting and a new HVAC system. The hours of operation for the Entry Pavilion are 5 AM to 10 PM and the Atlantic Terminal Ticket Office is open from 6 AM to 10 PM. Train service to the terminal, ticket machines and elevator are available 24/7.

Earlier work completed during the first and early second phases of the work included a temporary ticket office and entrance, new platform lighting, platform seating, signage and public address system, granite floor tiles for platforms, finished ceiling and stainless steel platform column cladding.

The pavilion is an architecturally distinct work. Architect John di Domenico, of di Domenico + Partners, LLP, Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineers, and artists Allan and Ellen Wexler, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit, collaborated to incorporate the artwork called “Overlook” into the Pavilion’s design. From street entry level, customers can observe the busy Terminal platform below. The Pavilion also has “green” environmental pluses. The large high performance glazed curtain wall and skylight allow abundant natural light to reach the LIRR concourse and the 2, 3, 4 and 5 subway station. Also, shading “fins” on the exterior glass wall and skylights prevent excess heat gain during the warmer months.

John di Domenico, the architect, was raised in Brooklyn and attended Brooklyn Technical High School before going on to the City College of New York and Harvard University. He also was a Fulbright Scholar in Rome, Italy. His firm is based in Long Island City.

The budget for the Atlantic Terminal improvements was $108.1 million with funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration and the MTA Long Island Rail Road Capital Program.

LIRR service between Jamaica and Brooklyn dates back to the earliest days of the railroad in the 1830’s. The earlier LIRR Brooklyn terminal building, located at approximately the location of the present structure, opened in 1907 as part of the Atlantic Avenue Improvement Project. That project also included construction of two tunnels and two elevated sections with electrified tracks for the LIRR between Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn and Jamaica.

The new Atlantic Terminal building marks an early milestone in the overall effort to transform this area of Brooklyn. A recent court decision cleared the way for a new sports center that is to be the new home of the Nets basketball team. Additional residential and commercial buildings also are planned nearby.

The sample photos shown in the press release look quite impressive. I will eventually get to the terminal so I can photograph it for Eye On Transit. If anyone reads this & happens to check out the terminal, please contact me with your opinions on the project from different perspectives such as looks & functionality. In the meantime, checkout these 2 extra shots of the new terminal courtesy of the MTA Long Island Rail Road.

Picture 2

Picture 3

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