Friday, October 23, 2009

Memories of The Fort Hamilton Subway Station

Today on the KWT site I was reading about some robberies committed at the Fort Hamilton station on the F-line. Oh yes, the good old Fort Hamilton stop. From the "token sucking" done by the softball field to the attempted rape of my old girlfriend back in the late 80's, the Fort Hamilton station always seemed to attract some real characters.

And I knew some of these characters, well at least the guys that used to jam the token slot with the broken end of a popsicle stick and then wait for some poor "sucker" to put their token in. The token would just sit in the slot near the top without fully going down. The patron would then curse and walk away while some kid in a black leather jacket would return into the station to actually "suck" the token out of the slot and make himself fifty cents.

Yeah, good old token sucking at Fort Hamilton, it probably bought more than one slice of pizza at Korner for Steve.

Oh, but then there was the "problem" with my old girlfriend. Happened during broad daylight down on the platform. And if it wasn't for her screaming and the person that came to help, who the hell knows what would have happened. But the good news is they caught the guy and he was convicted of attempted rape after a long trail one summer in downtown Brooklyn.

Now back in the 70's and 80's hardly any people used that station. I remember while I was going to Art and Design in Manhattan I would always stand at the front window of the F train. Just counting the tile columns and nothing else, never a soul in that station and sometimes I wondered why we ever stopped there.

I remember talking to my friend who was a transit cop; he said that station was always ripe for the picking for a few reasons.
For one the station was curved, so it was harder to see what was going on from one side of the platform to the other. The second reason was where it was, basically in a residential area where there was much less foot traffic. Just a paradise for the "criminal element".

But today it is much different, I guess moms are going to work and dads travel into the city rather than by the docks in Brooklyn. You see that was my theory about Fort Hamilton, moms at home while dads drove to their "longshoreman" jobs by Red Hook. Who knows if I was right, but the station was always deserted so who knows?

But you know what my best memory of that station was?
Well, one Sunday morning we were playing hockey in the PS 130 schoolyard. All of a sudden my cousin Pete says, "hit the deck" followed by "pop" "pop" "pop". Right there running out of the station were two cops shooting at these two teenage boys running down towards East 5th street.

Man, what the hell? I thought this area was safe?

Oh well, I know crime happens all over the city, but there is just something about the Fort Hamilton Subway Station that brings back some "wonderful" memories for me growing up in Kensington.

Ron Lopez


Michael said...

This was the stop outside my Aunt's house on East 5th - been there many, many times. I also remember walking down to the entrance from Ft. Hamilton Parkway, and seeing an older man coming out, blood streaming from his nose, saying that he'd been mugged. I think we then walked to the Church Avenue stop to get on the F train.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning Steve. There actually was a trick to getting the tokens out fo the turnstile without putting your lips on the slot. Looking back it makes me wonder what we were thinking. We would do just about anything for a couple of bucks. Paul

Elliot James said...

You're right, it was always eerily empty back then. That whole stretch, Carroll, Bergen, Seventh, on the F seemed to have few people on the platform at any time of the day or night. Is there less or more crime in the subways now?

Anonymous said...

The station I use to get off to go to the Fort Hamilton Roller Rink. The good old days. This station was always scarry always empty on our way going and back home from the roller rink. I never saw anyone else but us roller skaters, in the 70's