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Architectural Synecdoche

The picture above shows a container for trash storage (grandly called a “refuse room” on the tiny sign) on a subway platform in the Bronx. This station was opened in 1904 and originally used by the Second and Third Avenue Elevateds; after the IRT subway was extended to the Bronx in 1905, subway service started here. Most trash-storage containers in the subways system are plain steel boxes, so that decorative top caught my eye. There’s no mystery about the design, however. Here’s the opposite platform:

The lid of the container has a version of the hip roof that was used for the old elevated stations (minus the spiky ridge cresting, since people will sit on the containers whether they’re supposed to or not) and the paneled sides of the container give the feel of the columned long roof and back wall. Like all of the old stations, elevated or underground, this one has been lengthened several times, so the central roof used to be more visually prominent. The station, by virtue of its status as pre-dating the IRT and having its central portion unchanged, is on the National Register, which may have helped inspire the architects of the most recent renovation to design that trash container.