72nd Street Subway
The 72nd Street subway station is an express stop for the #1, #2, #3 and #9 trains, one of the busiest and best lines in the city. The station building is one of the few remaining above-ground stations in the city. It was part of the original Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) subway line that opened in 1904 as the first working subway system in New York and has been in continuous operation ever since. Most above-ground stations have been replaced by larger below ground stations.
This station has been woefully overcrowded since it"s opening, but because of the amount of usage and complexity of the area, plans for renovation had been postponed for years. Estimates of the costs of rerouting the utility lines and tracks to make the platform areas larger ranged well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. A more modest reconstruction of the station involving a second larger entrance in an renovated park north of the station began in 2000.
On October 29, 2002, the new 72nd Street IRT subway stationed opened and renovation work began on the older station across the street.
Reconstruction of the station included redesign of Verdi Square into a nice sitting area.
The lamppost near the corner of Amsterdam and 72nd St. is a luminaire, an ornate 5-lamp structure that was one of a pair built between 1913 and 1935 that originally flanked the staircase to the Fireman's Memorial on Riverside Drive at 100th Street. The poles were vandalized in the 1970s and the survivor was placed in storage. The lamp was restored and placed here in the fall of 2004. (reference)