Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue is the eastern terminal station on the New York City Subway's IND Rockaway Line. Originally a Long Island Rail Road station, it is the full-time southern terminal for the A train and the easternmost station on the New York City Subway. As of 2015, this station is the busiest of all subway stations in the Rockaway peninsula. The original surface station on this site was opened in 1869; the current elevated station began operation as a subway station on January 16, 1958. The station was renovated in 2009–2012 at a cost of $117 million.
The Far Rockaway Branch of the Long Island Rail Road had originally been part of a loop that traveled along the existing route. The line diverges from the present-day Atlantic and Long Beach Branches east of Valley Stream station in Valley Stream, New York. Eastbound trains continued south then southwest, through Five Towns and the Rockaway Peninsula, and onto a trestle across Jamaica Bay through Queens where it reconnected with the Rockaway Beach Branch; westbound trains did the reverse, using the Rockaway Beach Branch to cross the trestle, go through the Rockaways and Five Towns, and continue northeast then north to join the westbound Atlantic Branch.
Far Rockaway station itself was originally built by the Far Rockaway Branch Railroad, a subsidiary of the South Side Railroad of Long Island. Construction on the line began in September 1868, and the station was opened on July 29, 1869. The station was later converted into a freight house, when a second station was moved from Ocean Point Station (a.k.a. Cedarhurst Station), remodeled, and opened on October 1, 1881. The third depot opened on July 15, 1890, while the second depot was sold and moved to a private location in October 1890. The surface station featured a large plaza and depot, serving horse-drawn carriages, taxis, and surface trolleys. The Ocean Electric Railway terminated at the station between 1897 and September 2, 1926, and the station served as the headquarters for the Ocean Electric Railway.
The station also served as the terminus of a Long Island Electric Railway trolley line leading to Jamaica, via New York Avenue (now Guy R. Brewer Boulevard). Following the end of trolley service in November 1933, the depot served buses from Green Bus Lines and Jamaica Buses; the former Jamaica trolley route became Jamaica Buses' Route B (now the Q113 and Q114 buses). Around noon on April 10, 1942, the surface station was closed, and a new elevated station on the current concrete trestle was opened as part of the Long Island Rail Road's grade crossing elimination project. This station had two low-level side platforms.
There were frequent fires and maintenance problems on the Jamaica Bay viaduct. The most notorious of these problems was a fire in May 1950 between The Raunt and Broad Channel Stations. After this fire, the LIRR abandoned the Jamaica Bay viaduct and the Queens portion of the Rockaway Beach/Far Rockaway route. On June 11, 1952, the city acquired all trackage west of Mott Avenue, incorporating it as part of the IND Rockaway Line. Service provided by the A train over the line began in June 1956, with the full western spur to Rockaway Park operational. While the remainder of the line operated, with Beach 25th Street–Wavecrest serving as the eastern spur terminal, a new Far Rockaway subway station was constructed, opening on January 16, 1958.
The Far Rockaway LIRR station was moved to a grade-level station at Nameoke Street on February 21, 1958—two blocks from the original station and three blocks from the subway station—becoming the terminus of the Far Rockaway branch. The original site of the LIRR's elevated station and the bus depot, located on the northeast side of Mott Avenue, were replaced with a shopping center and parking lot, which began construction in 1960.
Far Rockaway is notably the oldest station currently in operation in the New York City Subway, having originally opened over 145 years ago, on July 29, 1869, as a Long Island Rail Road station. However, Gates Avenue on the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn is the oldest station in the subway system to have been built as a rapid transit station, and has been in continuous operation for over 130 years. The Far Rockaway station was converted from Long Island Rail Road trackage to subway loading gauge and has only operated for 57 years in this capacity. Therefore, Far Rockaway is actually one of the newest stations in the subway system (not counting the new IND Throgs Neck, Second Avenue and 125th Street lines, Far Rockaway would be considered the 11th newest station for the NYC Subway system).
In 1981, the MTA listed the Mott Avenue station among the 69 most deteriorated stations in the subway system, despite the fact that the station had become part of the subway system just two decades earlier. From 2009 to 2012, a $117 million renovation took place on the station, replacing the 1950s design of the station house with metallic facades and a dome enclosure, and upgrading several features including staircases and employee areas. Elevators from the station house to the platforms were added, as were yellow tactile warning strips on the platform edges, making the station ADA-accessible. A glass artwork titled Respite was installed as part of the MTA's Arts for Transit program. The renovated station was unveiled on May 11, 2012.
Station layout Edit
|Northbound||← A toward Inwood–207th Street (Beach 25th Street)|
|Island platform, doors will open on the left or right; accessable|
|Northbound||← A toward Inwood–207th Street (Beach 25th Street)|
|Main building||Lobby, fare control, station agent|
(Elevators to platform level inside station house at NE corner of Mott Avenue and Beach 22nd Street)
The Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue station, the Rockaway Line's eastern terminus, is built on a concrete viaduct and has two tracks and an island platform. The tracks end at bumper blocks just beyond the northeast end of the platform. The former track connection to the current LIRR's Far Rockaway station has been removed, and transferring now requires a walk of three blocks. A NYCDOT municipal parking facility lies just east of the station between Beach 22nd and Beach 21st Streets, adjacent to the bus loop used by the Q22, QM17 and N33 services that terminate at the station.
The doors at the northeast end of the platform lead to stairs down to the street level fare control area. A tower and crew offices are at the southwest end. Two elevators and several staircases inside the station house lead to the platform level. A bodega called the "A Line Deli", previously called the "Last Stop Deli", is attached to the station entrance. It was originally a cafe, and was built along with the station in the 1950s.