A major Bronx subway station has gone from grimy to almost gleaming in spots, and riders say that they're grateful for the upgrades. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
It serves the 2, the 4 and the 5, but the 149th Street Bronx station was number one for all the wrong reasons.
"It was very dirty, dark," said one person. "Some of the signs weren't working."
A 2008 report by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority advisory group gave the 149th Street-Grand Concourse station failing marks for its leaks, shoddy staircases and general filthiness, ranking it as the worst station in the borough.
Now, though, riders are seeing some upgrades after a nearly year-long effort to spruce the place up.
"I've seen an improvement a little bit," said one person. "It was really horrible. Like, I don't see that many rats and stuff in the tracks. I'm not going to lie about that."
There's new lighting on station platforms and in corridors. Fresh coats of paint have been applied, and tiles that were falling off the walls have been replaced.
"It has its good things," said one person. "It was worse. They come a long way, trust me."
That's a welcome change in a station that's a busy transfer point. Close to 14,000 people used the station on weekdays last year, making it one of the busiest in the Bronx, according to MTA statistics, but the 2008 study by the New York City Transit Riders Council flagged it for being one of the grungiest.
The report pointed out that with no major renovations since 1992, the station was overdue for some work.
"The worst part was, it looked like nobody was in control, that it was just not cared for," said Andrew Albert of the NYC Transit Riders Council. "And this, of course, is a major gateway station to the Bronx."
The work was done through the MTA's station component program, which allows for improvements without having to wait for an entire station renovation.
"Just a general sense of decrepitude down here, and today, when you look around, it is much improved," Albert said.
Of course, there are some blemishes the station can't hide, and careless riders still toss trash onto the tracks.
"It's pretty disgusting," said one person. "You don't want to see all this stuff on the tracks."
However, it's not what it used to be, and riders say they'll take it.