We have a winner for our inaugural Crappiest Train Station in the Tri-State reader poll.
It pains me to divulge the winner. Really, it does.
Am I hot or not?
I mean, I’ve been rolling into this station each workday for nearly five years now. When I first started commuting, there was nothing–a lone Italian restaurant, a few delis, pizza, a divey bar–surrounding the station.
What a difference five years has made. Now the Italian restaurant is closed.
But enough about me. Voter turnout was very good, thanks in large part to multiple The Daily Westchester town sites linking to the poll.
And the winner is…
Hawthorne, New York.
An unfavorable mix of sidewalk-free approach streets, a run down appearance, unpleasant kids from neighboring reform school and general unacceptable level of cleanliness, wrote commenters, doomed Hawthorne.
Of all the places I’ve lived in New York, Hawthorne is the least friendly for bicycling/walking. As one who lives within so-called walking distance, I can honestly say that the most dangerous park of our ever-so-often trek to Citifield from our house is the 1/4 mile walk to the Hawthorne Station, particularly in the winter when the sidewalks become impassible. The crossing where Elwood and Commerce come together is a total nightmare for pedestrians.
Then, of course, once you get there you have to deal with a station that looks as if it came out of the 1970?s government agency architecture handbook, complete with the scariest looking elevator I’ve ever seen.
I will add a significant caveat to the results: Since much of this blog is centered around my home station of Hawthorne, it stands to reason that an outsize percentage of Trainjotting’s (modest) readership commutes in and out of Hawthorne. So that likely skewed the results, as commuters were all too happy to submit their station improvement wish list by voting in the poll.
Such as “tarp”:
Once you get to the station, perrenial urine & cleaning fluid smell, scratched up windows, old institutional style platform, derelict former taxi building, plus the local reform school kids blocking the stairwell during rush hour all add up to a delightful experience.But results are results, and Hawthorne won it outright.
Fully 17 stations were nominated by readers, representing Westchester, Connecticut, Jersey and New York City. Second place goes to the rambling Nowhereland train yard known ’round these parts as North White Plains.
I call them the catacombs, the dank underground tunnels to get in and out, perenially dripping with foreign substances from overhead pipes or stalactites. A woman traveling alone at off-hours’ nightmare. No stores around to buy a paper or cup of coffee. Yes, plenty of parking, but so sprawling that it feels like you’re walking to the next town to retrieve your car. Definitely North White Plains, worst station.
In fact, Connecticut had a strong showing. Stamford and Waterbury tied for third, the former due to lack of parking and the latter due to lack of guarantees that you’ll get out of the station alive, while the likes of Stratford, Waterbury and something called Ansonia also got mentions out of the Nutmeg State.
I have a call in to Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Joan Maybury about our findings, and she will not be happy to hear that Hawthorne, which is part of Mount Pleasant, has won. Ms. Maybury has taken pains to beautify the area: the giant clock, the flowers, booting out the taxicab ne’er do wells.
The efforts have been noticed.
Writes Emily of IRidetheHarlemLine.com:
For you Hawthorne people though, I really don’t think your station is as bad as what else is around. The town is seriously trying to make an effort by redoing that station building (cafe… someday!), they put up that clock, and have been planting flowers of all things.
The smell of urine in the elevators, though, will probably greet you at most stations.
Yet others said the improvements–not to mention the rumored Train Delay Cafe that, frankly, is showing no signs of being built, much less opening–were not nearly enough to spare Hawthorne the dubious distinction.
“All lipstick on a pig,” wrote tarp.
“Second the ‘lipstick on a pig’ remark,” echoed 816Regular.