I know I keep coming back to this over and over and over again. But I just can’t believe we intentionally reduced this once world-class rail station to rubble only so we could pay tens of millions 50 years later in an attempt to build a much smaller and less impressive imitation of what we once had.
I’m not going to say much more about it. I just wanted to share these recently found photos of Rochester’s half-demolished NY Central (Bragdon) Station. Like a decapitated, rotting corpse left to rot in public as a reminder of a brutal ‘auto’cracy. Most of the building was torn down in the 1960′s but one section stood like this for over a decade before it was finally removed altogether and replaced with the current Amtrak building in the mid to late 70′s. Oy, how painful…
Lots of news has been brewing lately over the future of Rochester’s beat-up, 32-year-old Amtrak station on Central Avenue. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter recently announced that a $1.5 million federal stimulus grant has been awarded to New York state to plan for a new multi-modal station on the site. A $2.5 million appropriation to pay for the station design is expected to pass Congress next month. And Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has just made it abundantly clear that New York will take whatever federal money is left on the table by newly elected GOP governors in Ohio and Wisconsin.
So for now, let’s just assume that something very interesting is in the works for our pitiful excuse for a train station. This is the perfect time to take a step back in time—to be inspired by Rochester’s grand old stations…
I’m a bit late on this but maybe this will be news to you. Some time last year, a notable infrastructure blog called The Infrastructurist, published a list of the top 10 greatest rail stations ever built. Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest examples of 20th Century American architecture is Rochester’s NY Central Station. What? You’ve never heard of it? That’s probably because it’s not with us anymore — may she rest in peace. The NY Central Station was demolished in 1965. In it’s place, the pretty little Amtrak Station you know and love today. In fact, all of the buildings on the Infrastructurist’s list are no longer.
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.