If Grand Central Terminal decided to get down with Penn Station and have a bastard son, the Yonkers Train Station would be the bastard child. I only say “bastard child” because it sounds funny but seriously seriously seriously, if you live in Yonkers like right now…today April 8th 2011, you must go see this train station if you never have in your life!
Built in 1911 by the same architects who build GCT, it is probably one of the few Beaux-Arts style buildings in the entire city and as in the case of many of these illustrious public works, the wrecking ball may someday find its way and hit dat train station upside its head, which is street talk for the train station getting clobbered and destroyed by a mean old heavy piece of machinery, but I digress.
One of the greatest features of this station actually is how well the city has adapted it to the 21st century while leaving much of the 20th century still intact. MTA loves to build state of the art facilities to accommodate for modern trains and while most of us would agree that some of the older stations along the Harlem and Hudson lines were in desperate need of repair, the Yonkers station, which also fell into a dark period of decay, found the best of both worlds in that the history and beauty of the station was preserved while making modern renovations to the tracks, platforms and station itself.
There was a complete dismantling and replacement of the train platforms, which can still be seen today as the old platforms are still there although not in use.
Another cool feature of the station is that the Telegraph Booth/Office can be seen where it has always been for the past century and although now of course it is used as a closet, just seeing the words “Telegraph” is good enough for me to feel the history behind the station and just picturing a line of people waiting to send out messages is such a cool thing to reminisce about.
Another cool thing about the station is that it has another “closet” style room that used to house a Phone, so instead of a phone booth, you have a phone room.
And of course…one of my favorite things has to be the old New York Central logo that can still be seen upon only the oldest of train stations in the area. There are a number of them on the outside and the inside of the station. Very cool and very historic!
The waiting room however has to be one of my favorite parts of any train station and definitely my favorite part of the GCT.
In Yonkers Train Station, you can obviously see the influence of the GCT architecture and also you feel as if you are at GCT, with the wood benches, the brick surrounding you and also the shadows that the sun plays on the benches.
Sitting there, allowing time to pass, you cannot help but think about all of the millions of people who have passed through the station, on their way to who knows where, to see family, friends, a new job.
Can you picture perhaps military personnel from Yonkers, waiting for the train that will take them down to Manhattan where they would report to pier number so and so, to then be shipped off to the grim battle fields of Europe?
This train station definitely has history written all over it and even if it is a place that you have been to a million times due to the fact that you are a commuter, take a few extra minutes next you are there, sit in the waiting room, appreciate the architecture that surrounds you and feel the history.