For the third time in as many months, a portion of the ceiling has come down in a subway station. Around 8:30 a.m., a straphanger tweeted a video showing a gaping hole above the 4/5 platform at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center stop, with plaster and debris from the ceiling littering the platform.
What caused the chunk of ceiling to fall is still unknown. 4 and 5 trains bypassed the station until about 11:15 a.m. because of the incident.
“A small amount of plaster fell from the ceiling on a platform, and out of an abundance of caution we are checking the entire station,” an MTA spokesperson said in a statement. “President Byford has also ordered a systemwide inspection of similar ceilings. We thank our personnel for their quick response and our customers for their patience while we address this.”
“I know Albany never takes action until the sky is falling, but we could do without the literal manifestation of the metaphor,” John Raskin, the executive director of Riders Alliance, said in a statement. “It’s clear that salvation won’t come from above; instead, riders should be venting their rage at the governor and members of the legislature until they do their job and pass a sustainable funding source like congestion pricing to fix the subway.”
In two separate incidents this summer, pieces of the ceiling at the Borough Hall subway station fell onto the platform; in the earlier of the two, one commuter was injured by falling debris. Following those incidents, the MTA pledged to invest $43 million toward repairs for the station, which will include rehabilitating the ceiling to withstand flooding, installing new tiles, replace platform edges, and redesign the station’s turnstile areas.
Like the Borough Hall stop, the Atlantic Avenue station is more than a century old, although it underwent a major revamp in the early aughts. In 2009, the MTA sold the naming rights for the station—formerly Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street—to British banking giant Barclays as part of the larger stadium construction project. The agency receives $200,000 per year over a period of 20 years, according to reports at the time.
After the first ceiling collapse in June, Jon Orcutt of TransitCenter told Curbed that “Politicians like [Governor Andrew Cuomo] and Assembly Speaker Heastie need to be afraid someone could get killed under their watch. We have a subway plan that’s not funded and it’s up to them to make that funded.” Today’s incident is just another example of why this is true.