Building of the Day: Coney Island/Stillwell Ave Subway Terminal

Postcard via eBay

The BOTD is a no-frills look at interesting structures of all types and from all neighborhoods. There will be old, new, important, forgotten, public, private, good and bad. Whatever strikes our fancy. We hope you enjoy.

Address: Corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues
Name: Coney Island/Stillwell Ave Subway Terminal
Neighborhood: Coney Island
Year Built: 2001-2005, replacing the station built in the early in 1920’s.
Architectural Style: Modern eclectic.
Architects: Kiss and Cathcart Architects and Jacobs Engineering Group platform and train shed, di Domenico + Partners, LLP entrance and station house
Landmarked: No

This is the largest above-ground terminal facility in the world. Since the new terminal was finished in 2005, it’s also been the most energy efficient mass transit facility in the world. Who knew?

It’s got 8 tracks and 4 island platforms. This station replaced the old station, built in the early 1920’s, which served as the entry point to Coney Island for the masses of tourists and day trippers who’ve been flocking to the beach and amusement parks since the late 19th century.

The massive project to revamp the station was begun in 2001, with 6 tracks opening in 2004, and the full 8 in 2005. The old station entrance was badly damaged by salt water, years of corrosion, and no maintenance.

Coney Island Brooklyn -- Stillwell Ave History

1913 Postcard via Museum of the City of New York

The buildings that surrounded it originally were long gone. The new entrance building was designed with a nod to the original, including the shape of the original station incorporated into the facade, and a reuse of the historic terra-cotta parapet and BMT signage.

The rail yard itself is capped with a shed roof designed to resemble the train stations of Europe. The roof has photovoltaic (solar electric) panels that collect and store energy, which is used to run the systems, making it the largest renewable energy mass transit system in the world.

It’s also quite beautiful, with light streaming through the roof and superstructure. Outside on the street, the modern building combines function with the evocative, amusement park, non-serious fun of old Coney Island.

Coney Island Brooklyn -- Stillwell Ave History

Postcard via eBay

It all works rather well, showing that three architectural firms, along with additional expert help, the MTA, preservationists, and the public can all work together to improve one of Brooklyn’s most famous neighborhoods.

What's Happening