Howard Beach–JFK Airport
| New York City Subway rapid transit station|
AirTrain JFK people mover station
View of the subway platforms and mezzanine at night
|Address||159th Avenue & 103rd Street|
Queens, NY 11414
|Division||B (IND, formerly LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch)|
|Line||IND Rockaway Line|
|Services||A (all times)|
|Transit connections||MTA Bus: Q11|
|Structure||At-grade (subway station)|
Elevated (AirTrain JFK station)
|Platforms||2 side platforms (subway station)|
1 island platform (AirTrain JFK station)
|Tracks||4; 2 in regular service (subway station)|
2 (AirTrain JFK station)
|Opened||April 1913LIRR station) (|
December 17, 2003 (AirTrain JFK)
|Rebuilt||June 28, 1956 (subway station)|
December 17, 2003 (connection to AirTrain JFK)
|Passengers (2017)||1,123,405 (subway station only) 11%|
|Rank||338 out of 425|
|Next north||Aqueduct–North Conduit Avenue: A|
|Next south||Broad Channel: A|
|Next north||Aqueduct Racetrack: A|
|Next south||Far Rockaway–Mott Avenue (via Rockaway): A S |
Rockaway Park–Beach 116th Street (via Rockaway Park): A (also via same-platform transfer at Broad Channel)
Howard Beach–JFK Airport is a subway/people mover station complex located at Coleman Square between 159th Avenue and 103rd Street in Howard Beach, Queens. The New York City Subway portion of the station is on the IND Rockaway Line and is served by the Rockaway branch of the A train at all times. The AirTrain JFK portion of the station complex is served by the AirTrain's Howard Beach branch at all times.
The station was originally a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station along the Rockaway Beach Branch. The LIRR station opened in 1913 to replace the nearby Ramblersville station. The LIRR ceased operations at this station in 1950, and the New York City Transit Authority bought the section of the Rockaway Beach Branch that included this station in 1952. The subway station opened on June 28, 1956. Between 2000 and 2003, the subway station was completely reconstructed and the AirTrain JFK station was built. The rebuilt complex was completed on December 17, 2003, providing easier access to JFK Airport for large parts of the city.
The station originally opened in April 1913 as a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station, which replaced the former 1899-built Ramblersville station that was built 0.2 miles (0.32 km) to the south. In 1923, the station was retrofitted with sheltered sheds on both sides of the tracks. On May 8, 1950, a fire broke out between The Raunt and Broad Channel stations, destroying the trestle over Jamaica Bay, cutting service between Hamilton Beach and the Rockaways. The LIRR was bankrupt and unwilling to rebuild the trestle. As a result, the line was sold to the New York City Transit Authority in 1952.
On June 27, 1955, the Howard Beach station, along with all the rest of the Rockaway Beach Branch stations south of the now defunct Ozone Park station, was taken out of service for eight months for restructuring and upgrading of the tracks, so that they could accommodate subway service. During the project, the Howard Beach station, along with the Broad Channel and Far Rockaway stations, was completely rebuilt utilizing a modern design, which included a new overhead passageway between the two platforms. The design was created by architect J. Harold Sandifer, a native of the Rockaways. Many of the parts for the station were prefabricated, speeding construction. On June 28, 1956, the station reopened as a subway station along with the rest of the line. The previous Long Island Rail Road station at this location was razed. Inauguration ceremonies were held at the station as well as at Euclid Avenue in Brooklyn.
In June 1978, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced plans for an "experimental" subway-bus service between Manhattan and JFK Airport, terminating at the Howard Beach subway station where passengers could transfer to a free shuttle bus to the airport. The JFK Express began operation on September 23, 1978, operating as a premium service, with riders paying the additional fare on board. The service ran express on the IND Sixth Avenue Line to West Fourth Street–Washington Square, where it switched to the IND Eighth Avenue Line and ran express to Jay Street–Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn. From that point on, it ran non-stop on the IND Fulton Street Line and IND Rockaway Line to Howard Beach–JFK Airport. In its early years, the service was more successful, with 6,000 passengers carried on the maximum day. However, the premium service lost its allure as the rest of the subway system was improved, with reduced crime and new graffiti-free trains. As a result, more passengers opted to take the slower A to Howard Beach. The JFK Express was discontinued on April 15, 1990 due to low ridership, with as few as 3,200 riders per day. The bus service, connecting the station and JFK, continued after JFK Express service ended, and was the only link between the airport and the Howard Beach station at the time. Ridership on the A to the Airport increased after the discontinuation of the JFK Express: in 1995, about 1 million passengers used the A to the Airport.:3.14
The station was extensively reconstructed in the early 2000s, undergoing a $50 million overhaul to connect the subway station to the new AirTrain JFK. The project was designed by STV Group and financed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. During the reconstruction of the station, the original subway platforms were demolished and temporary platforms were erected in the center trackways while the new platforms and mezzanine were built. During off-peak hours, trains utilized a single track. The AirTrain structure around the station was completed in 2001, and the AirTrain station opened on December 17, 2003, at which time the shuttle bus was discontinued. The transfer was popular, with 4 million people transferring between the subway and the AirTrain from 2003 to 2007. The AirTrain was designed with the same track height and track gauge as those of the subway, to facilitate a future extension of the subway over the AirTrain system.
Due to extensive damage to the IND Rockaway Line by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, this was the southern terminal for A trains that normally traveled to the Rockaways while the line south of the station was being repaired. Full service to the Rockaways was restored on May 30, 2013.
AirTrain JFK level
|Track 2||→ Howard Beach Branch toward Terminal 8 (Lefferts Boulevard) →|
|Island platform with platform doors, doors will open on the left, right|
|Track 1||→ Howard Beach Branch toward Terminal 8 (Lefferts Boulevard) →|
|Mezzanine||Fare control and overpass; transfer between subway and AirTrain|
|Side platform, doors will open on the right|
|Northbound local||← toward Inwood–207th Street (Aqueduct–North Conduit Avenue)|
|Northbound express||← No regular service|
|Southbound express||→ Trackbed|
|Southbound local||→ toward Far Rockaway ( toward Rockaway Park PM rush hours) (Broad Channel) →|
|Side platform, doors will open on the right|
|Street level station house||Exit/Entrance|
Elevators at Coleman Square and 159th Avenue
The station's mezzanine is located in a modern, temperature-controlled, glass-enclosed building above the subway platforms and tracks, measuring 90 feet (27 m) across, with a large stainless steel sign on either side reading "Howard Beach JFK." The mezzanine building contains a small token booth and three turnstile banks between the subway, the AirTrain JFK, and the unpaid area.
Subway (Lower level)
AirTrain (Upper level)
New York City Subway platforms
The grade-level New York City Subway station has two side platforms and four tracks with the two center express tracks not used in revenue service. The southbound express track has been severed and has permanently been removed from service, while the northbound express track is unused in regular service. South of the station, there are switches and crossovers between all four tracks before the two outer tracks merge with the center ones.:54 The two-track line then crosses Jamaica Bay to Broad Channel, which is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to the south. The crossing is the longest stretch of line between two consecutive stations in the system.
Both platforms have concrete windscreens on either end and steel canopies at the portions underneath the center station building. The platforms are offset, with the southbound platform extending slightly to the north, and the northbound platform extending slightly further south. A set of staircases and escalators from each subway platform go up to the station building. There are also two elevators from each platform to the station building. Outside the subway's and AirTrain's fare control, two elevators lead from the station building to street level.
The Rockaway-bound platform has two High Entry/Exit Turnstiles and one exit-only turnstile leading to a short staircase that goes down to the intersection of 159th Road and 103rd Street. The Brooklyn-bound platform has a set of emergency doors leading to the parking lot just north of the AirTrain JFK station; they are normally locked, but were in use from December 2012 to May 2013 as a connection to a temporary shuttle bus service instituted after Hurricane Sandy.
AirTrain JFK platform
The AirTrain JFK portion of this station has two tracks and one island platform on the upper level of the station complex.:104 The eastern end of the AirTrain platform leads to Parking Area C. Unlike the New York City Subway platforms, the AirTrain JFK platforms are entirely enclosed and feature platform screen doors, which help the station maintain a constant temperature and prevent passengers from falling onto the tracks. An array of sensors detect a train's position on the track, and only when it is properly aligned will the train's doors open. This enables the AirTrain to use automatic train operation without drivers.
The platform measures approximately 240 feet (73 m). The next stop to the southeast is Lefferts Boulevard. Since it is owned by the Port Authority, it uses a separate fare control from the subway. Passengers must pay their fare when either entering or leaving the station, as this station and Jamaica are the only stations where fares are collected. MetroCard vending machines are located on both sides of fare control.
The exit from the complex to the Howard Beach neighborhood is on the west side, with a twisting staircase and two elevators going down to the east side of 103rd Street/Coleman Square by the T-intersection with 159th Avenue. A connecting bridge on the east side of the station leads into the Airtrain JFK station.
The station as it appeared as it was being reconstructed to allow for a transfer to AirTrain JFK in 2003; note the temporary platform (left)
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- nycsubway.org – IND Rockaway: Howard Beach
- Howard Beach AirTrain station announcement
- Entrance from Google Maps Street View
- Platforms from Google Maps Street View
- AirTrain JFK platform from Google Maps Street View
|Preceding station||LIRR||Following station|
toward Grand Street
|Rockaway Beach Branch||
toward Rockaway Park