Station: Smith-9th Street (Crosstown Line)

From nycsubway.org


R-46 "G" train at Smith/9th Street. Photo by David Pirmann.

IND Crosstown Line
F.GIF 179th Street · 169th Street · Parsons Boulevard · Sutphin Boulevard · Briarwood-Van Wyck Boulevard · Union Turnpike-Kew Gardens · 75th Avenue · 71st-Continental Aves.-Forest Hills · Roosevelt Avenue · 21st Street-Queensbridge · Roosevelt Island · Lexington Ave.-63rd St. · 57th Street · 47-50th Street-Rockefeller Center · 42nd Street · 34th Street-Herald Square · 23rd Street · 14th Street · West 4th Street-Washington Square · Broadway-Lafayette · 2nd Avenue · Delancey Street · East Broadway · York Street · Jay St.-Metrotech · Bergen Street · Carroll Street · Smith-9th Street · 4th Avenue · 7th Avenue-Park Slope · 15th Street-Prospect Park · Fort Hamilton Parkway · Church Avenue · Ditmas Avenue · 18th Avenue · Avenue I · Bay Parkway · Avenue N · Avenue P · Kings Highway · Avenue U · Avenue X · Neptune Avenue · West 8th Street · Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue
G.GIF Court Square · 21st Street-Van Alst · Greenpoint Avenue ·Nassau Avenue · Metropolitan Avenue-Grand Street · Broadway · Flushing Avenue · Myrtle-Willoughby Aves. · Bedford-Nostrand Aves. · Classon Avenue · Clinton-Washington Aves. · Fulton Street · Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street · Bergen Street · Carroll Street · Smith-9th Street · 4th Avenue · 7th Avenue-Park Slope · 15th Street-Prospect Park · Fort Hamilton Parkway · Church Avenue


Opened: 7/1/1933

Local station with two side platforms and four tracks. It at first looks like there is some steep ramping of the tracks from Carroll Street to here and then from here down to Fourth Avenue. Actually the slope is gentle. It's the terrain that dips from the crest of South Brooklyn to the Gowanus Creek, and then rises to the crest of Park Slope.

This station is the highest elevated station in the system, at 91 feet. It is so high due to now-antiquated navigation rules for tall-mast shipping in the Gowanus Creek under the station. It's the same rule that makes the Gowanus Expressway hump over the Gowanus Creek a little distance south of the station. In fact, west of the southbound platform a good view is afforded of the Gowanus Expressway, one of Robert Moses' and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority's creations. Despite the height of this station and the expressway, most of the other bridges that carry streets across the creek are low level ones. They must be opened (slid aside, lifted, swung, etc.) to let ships pass. Obviously the higher traffic of the expressway and railroad required high level crossings.

This station is made of concrete, with no windscreen at the south end, just chain link fence. There are mosaics along the concrete platform walls reading "Smith-9th Street". A close examination of the canopied area suggests windows existed which were covered or removed. At the north end, the platforms afford a postcard view of the lower Manhattan skyline and the trains descending toward the Carroll Street tunnel portals.

The mezzanine is reached by two flights of stairs to the crossunder and then two long escalators with an intermediate level between the escalators. The crossunder has closed windows and a closed center exit. When we finally reach the fare control we are at street level.

A note about the route of the crosstown "G" train. Even the earliest maps of the IND show this route to end at Smith-9th Street. Runs to Church Avenue were infrequent. Terminating a train here is totally unbecoming of the IND mentality. From Carroll Street the G comes into Smith-9th street, dumps its riders, then moves toward 4th Avenue station. At the switchyard there it slides onto the downtown express track and takes a nap. When it's time to start the return trip, the G crawls thru the switchyard onto the uptown local track and enters Smith-9th Street, where it receives its first riders and continues on its way. The whole works around 4th Avenue is original construction, even the extra switches within the station to reverse the G train and the stub reversing track. Clearly, such a setup precluded any regular service on the express tracks right from the start of IND operations.

A note about Brooklyn street names, in particular "West 9th Street". One might assume that West 9th Street was near the West 8th Street station, which in turn is near Coney Island. Not so! Yes, there is a West 9th Street in that area (but it doesn't reach Coney Island proper; it ends at 86th Street just north of the Coney Island Yards). At the Gowanus Creek the streets on the east side are numbered. Although most of them don't cross the creek, their "continuations" on the west side are given proper names, i.e. 8th Street becomes Huntington St., 10th Street becomes Garnet St., and so on. Except for 9th Street. On the west side of the creek, right next to this Smith-9th Street station, it becomes West 9th Street!

In April 2013, a multi-year renovation of the Smith-9th Street Station (and the entire viaduct) was completed. The station renovation included new artwork throughout, refurbishment of all platforms and mezzanine areas, etc.


Nautical Charts, Gowanus and Red Hook, 1733-1922, Alyson Shotz, 2013.

Fathom Points + Compass Bearings, Alyson Shotz, 2013.

Photo Gallery

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Photo by: Doug Grotjahn
Collection of: Joe Testagrose
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Joe Testagrose
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Stephen DeLuca
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Anthony Maimone
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: John Barnes
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Phillip Lee
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Bill E.
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Michael Hodurski
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Philip D'Allesandro
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: John Dooley
Location: Smith/9th Street

Image 125677
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Photo by: Joe Testagrose
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: John Dooley
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: John Dooley
Location: Smith/9th Street

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Photo by: Denilson Gomez
Location: Smith/9th Street

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