A few weeks after 9/11, we conducted a fairly brazen raid on the abandoned mezzanine and entrance of this station located along the G line in LIC. We had to tactically evade police when leaving, but it was well worth the effort.
21st Van Alst is one of NYC’s most neglected subway stations. Low in ridership, the MTA has never had much incentive to maintain it. In June of 2005, a woman was raped in this subway station and MTA employees did little (beyond contacting the command center – they did not call 911 directly), and in a rather disgusting act of judicial incompetence, threw out the victim’s lawsuit.
Structurally, the station is generally dirty and neglected. There are just two sets of stairs to a single exit at the north end of the station. Beyond these stairs, the station is long and empty. Stairs that used to lead up to the mezzanine were removed decades ago. At the south end, a mysterious door currently locks up access to the other exit and the main mezzanine above the platform.
On the streets above the southern entrance to this station, there was a standard, though very rusty, iron entrance with a metal door leading down into this abandoned station entrance. Long before the internet answered just about everything knowable via google, I needed to know what the heck was down there. It took me awhile to get around to it, but such is life…
Very late one night myself and M gained entry. We were our sneaky selves, sure not to be seen. Once inside what we found was rather unexpected: an old style wooden token booth graced one wall, while the rest of the space was filled with construction debris.
On the stairs down to the platform, we found a rack of signal relays, and a doorway into an unfinished, very dark and damp mezzanine.
At the far end of this mezzanine, one could look through a small hole and see the occupied token booth on the north end of the station, complete with snoozing token clerk getting his 2AM on.
Further down, a doorway lead to the desolate platform. It was down here that we ran into Johnny 5-0.
How we escaped that situation is a story for another day, perhaps in book format…
When it comes to this spot, too much has already been said.