The renovation was funded largely by Borough President Marty Markowitz, who contributed $2 million to the project, and Assemblywoman Joan Millman, who gave $800,000. It is part of an overall $575 million transformation of the Culver Viaduct, including a restoration of the the historic archway over Fourth Avenue which connects the two sides of the station, to be completed in the fall.
At a ribbon cutting at the new F/G entrance, which has new lighting, turnstiles and other subway entrance features, on Thursday, February 24, Markowitz said someone recently showed him a picture of the station in its 1940s glory.
“When I saw that I said, 'oh my God, how can we not have this restored?” he said.
The city closed the east side of the Fourth Avenue station in the early 1970s due to a crime spike, when retailers closed in the area, making the station more vacant and dangerous.
Markowitz and other speakers at the event expressed gratitude to the transit workers who performed the construction, since the project was contracted in-house by the city, instead of through outside contractors.
“The potential of Fourth Avenue is right before us and it can become, and I know it will become, one of the most beautiful boulevards in the entire City of New York,” Markowitz said. “This is the first step.”
New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast said at the ribbon cutting that the Viaduct transformation will also include increased street lighting, new entrance doors, canopies, platform edges, public address systems and retail spaces that should be ready for tenants in 2013.
“This is the first of many enhancements we expect to unveil at this station over the course of the coming months, in response to the needs of the constituents in the community that has serviced this station for many years,” Prendergast said. “This work will make Fourth Avenue station more attractive and more functional to our riders and an asset to the community at large.”
Millman said the biggest benefit to the community will be the restoration of the archway.
“For too many years people coming out of the train took their chances running across six lanes of traffic because they didn't want to use the overpass,” she said, adding that they were discouraged from using the overpass because “it was unfriendly, it was frightening, it was dark, paint was peeling off the walls.”
The full transformation of the Viaduct is expected to be completed in 2013.