Tuesday Tour of the Hudson Line: Cortlandt


Crugers and Montrose stations. Both stations were closed in 1996 and replaced with the new Cortlandt station.

Today’s tour of the Hudson Line takes us to one of Metro-North’s newer stations – the second newest on the line after Yankees-E 153rd Street, Cortlandt. Located a little over 38 miles from Grand Central, Cortlandt is in the upper, unelectrified portion of Metro-North’s Hudson Line, and situated between Croton-Harmon and Peekskill. Historically, there were two stations in this area – Crugers and Montrose – both of which were closed in favor of the new Cortlandt station. Space is always a critical issue at many Metro-North stations, especially when it comes to parking. Many stations have almost endless waiting lists for a parking permit. Cortlandt was one of the few places on the upper Hudson Line where there was room for expansion, and more room for parking. Especially built to replace Montrose and Crugers, the new station was opened in June of 1996.


Local timetables to Montrose and Crugers, and Hudson Line timetables from 1996. Note that Montrose and Crugers were there at the beginning of the year, but by midyear were replaced with Cortlandt. Thanks to Doug Dray, Otto Vondrak, and Bob Mortell for these timetables.

Although the parking situation was much improved at Cortlandt, Metro-North looked to expand even more, and in 2009 began a massive improvement project to the station. A new 720 car parking lot was built on the west side of the tracks, almost doubling parking capacity. Other improvements included a heated waiting room including a concession area, new canopies, and a new elevator. The New York State Department of Transportation improved the intersection between the station and Route 9A, which was also considered part of the project. The new road had lighted sidewalks built especially for those using the train to get to the nearby Veterans Hospital.


Pre-construction rendering of the improvements at Cortlandt

 
Cortlandt before and during construction. Before photo by Tom Panettiere, construction photo by George Kimmerling.

 
Aerial views of Cortlandt station, before and after the expansion. Note the new, larger station building, and the massive new parking lot on the west side of the tracks.

The MTA had a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony after the renovations to Cortlandt station were complete back in February, attended by both Metro-North president Howard Permut and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota. In his statements at the ceremony, Permut said “[Cortlandt] will address current and future needs of the railroad and the communities it serves,” which is actually quite true – especially the future part. Though most don’t attribute foresight as a quality generously abound in the MTA, whoever came up with the upgrades for Cortlandt was certainly thinking about future expansion. A blocked off stairwell to nowhere, gated off with a sign that says “Authorized Personnel Only” looks like a perfect spot for a third platform to be constructed – at some point in the future if ever needed (if electrification further north ever happens?).


Ribbon cutting ceremony at Cortlandt station.

Included in the original construction of the station was an Arts for Transit piece titled Three Statues (A Short History of the Lower Hudson Valley), by Robert Taplin. Three seven-foot tall statues stand beside the station, each representative of a historical group of people that were common in this area. On the left, a wealthy Dutch landowner. In the middle, a laborer from the early nineteenth century. And on the right, a Native American figure. The figures look out over the long shape of the Hudson River, rendered in stone.

That’s about it for today’s tour – next week we’ll head back south on the Hudson Line to another station in the Bronx. There are only four more stations left to be featured on the Hudson Line, after which my camera may go hibernate for the winter (except for the part where I go ride Alaska Railroad’s winter train)!

 
  
 
  
   
  
   
  
 
 
  
   
   
  
   
 

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White Plains, Level 8, My new favorite place

Despite the fact that I started this blog to talk about all the crazy people I see on the train, I don’t really do it all that often anymore. But that is not to say I still don’t see crazy people. The coat guy is still around in White Plains, sporting his new favorite accessory: a big red cowboy hat. I rode in this morning with a skinny guy that dreams of being a bodybuilder. He had about ten bags, along with a few magazines that had photos of greased up men with muscles so enormous they must be taking steroids. The seat next to him he used as a table, as he buttered his bagel and mixed up his protein shake with the cup of milk he purchased from Starbucks. Bag Lady still rides the shuttle bus, as does the whiny girl that moans in some foreign language on her cell the entire ride. Yesterday I had to sit through the entire shuttle ride listening to her whine – she does not talk, she whines – and she continued to do so in the waiting room of the train station. I couldn’t stand to hear it anymore, so I went exploring.

There aren’t too many places in the White Plains train station I’ve never been. But I figured, why the hell not, I’ll go to the top of the parking garage. Up at the 8th level you can look down at the city of White Plains, listen to the rumble of the diesel engines as they head to Wassaic, and hear the whine of the M7 as it brakes and stops. And besides all the bits of trash (used condoms, eew) it is actually kinda nice up there. And quite peaceful, since I never seem to see anybody up there. Anyways, here are some photos of the view, morning and evening.


You know, the only thing I’m afraid of now is that someone is going to see me up there looking down and think I want to jump. Thats the last thing I need – cops coming after me. With all the stories I hear about photographers getting arrested and such for taking pictures, I really have a fear of the police, and I don’t trust them one bit.

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Tuesday Tour of the Harlem Line: Southeast

Not counting Grand Central, the Harlem Line has 37 different stations. Some of them, like Harlem-125th Street, and Fordham, are shared with other lines, but I still count them in that number. So far, I’ve been to 32 of those stations. The inevitable fact of the matter is that although there are a lot of interesting stations – located in nice areas, have historical station buildings, or have some sort of art – not every station is going to be incredibly intriguing. As I post these photos today, I seem to think this is the case with Southeast. The most interesting thing about the station is the yard nearby, but even that isn’t tremendously interesting, and there are better train watching spots on the line.

The station of Brewster North was built in the early 80′s by Metro-North, and has been the final stop on the Harlem’s electrified line. If you’re not lucky enough to be on an express train, it is here you’ll need to swap to a shuttle train for the rest of your journey to the Upper Harlem. Due to confusion with commuters, and a request by the town of Southeast, Brewster North was renamed Southeast in 2003. Southeast is one of the more busy stations on the Harlem Line, and gets commuters from all over the area, including Connecticut.

One of the reasons Southeast is so popular is due to the large parking lot, which can fit more than a thousand cars. This is how I’ve come to know Southeast – growing up my family would always cross the border into New York and take the train to the city, usually from Brewster. But Brewster’s parking lot isn’t the largest, and if it were a weekday we’d always go over to Southeast where there was more parking available. My dad still calls it Brewster North, and I don’t even try correcting him anymore… I know he’ll never remember!






…and I guarantee you if he were to see those pictures, he would ask me, where the heck is Southeast??

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Passengers: I love to see your feet, & You Parked Like a Jackass

Dear all passengers: I love seeing your feet. I couldn’t even work on my Japanese adventure photos, I had to stop and take pictures of your feet, so everyone can see how wonderful they are! The woman on my train last night really took the cake. Feet way up in the air on the back of the train seat all the way up to Mount Kisco. Not long after I snapped the photo, she took her feet down and put her boots back on in order to leave the train. When she stood up, she just looked like the picture in my mind of a stereotypical Westchester woman. She appears all prissy… she’s the kind of woman that would easily spend two hundred and fifty dollars on boots without a second thought. Except when on the train, those boots just won’t do. They need to come off!

The following lady didn’t really show me her feet. But she fuckin’ loves Metro-North, so she wore her happy socks, and put them up on the seat so everyone can see:

The following picture is old, and I’ve posted it before. But when I think about showing your bare feet on the train, this is what I think in my mind:

In other news, quite a while ago I found this blog called You Parked Like a Jackass. There is a high likelihood that at some point in your life you’ve seen someone park like a jackass. Horribly crooked, taking up two spots, or three, or (the horror!) four! People submit photos of horribly parked cars in lots, and you can even print out “Jackass cards” to leave on the windshield of those cars.

Many mornings in Goldens Bridge I see a van that really parks like a jackass. Well, I can’t really say that they park. Whoever is driving goes to the station, assumedly to wait for someone getting off the train. Instead of waiting in line at the entrance like most cars, the driver attempts to park. Horribly. If you are not handicapped, you are a real asshole to park in a handicapped spot. But a true asshole takes up multiple handicapped spots. What if there really was a handicapped person that needed the spot? Most days there are several other spots available when this person is around. But still, I just have to wonder why someone feels it necessary to diagonally park over two handicapped spots and a place you aren’t supposed to park. Mind you this is not an isolated incident. Note the snow in the picture on the left. This happens all the time.

Just add that to the list of people that probably abuse handicapped spots at the station. Kinda like the guy that is late for the train, parks in the closest handicapped spot, and runs like hell to catch that train that is pulling into the station.

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New Metered Parking Machines @ Goldens Bridge

I left work a bit early today as I wasn’t feeling too spectacular, and on my way out of the station I noticed a bunch of cardboard boxes littering the ground…


Boxes? Are there good things inside?

Apparently Goldens Bridge has spiffy new machines for the folks that park in the metered section of the lot.

Ooooh, shiny…

I figured that I would take a few photos of the new machines. But then some guy walked up to me and started laughing at me. Then he pulled out his camera and also started taking photos. Oh well, that is about all the noteworthy stories to come out of Goldens Bridge for the past month or so. The only thing that could possibly be more noteworthy than that is if they actually washed the windows. Am I the only one that finds it annoying when somebody writes “Wash Me” in the dust of a dirty window? Except instead of writing “Wash Me” they draw the one thing that everybody on the planet Earth, irrelevant of their artistic skill, knows how to draw: a crude cock and balls. Sometimes I do think that those people that are supposed to be washing the stations are sleeping on the job…

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