The New York Connecting Railroad, now joined with Amtrak traffic from Penn Station, makes gradual ascent through Astoria to the Hell Gate bridge over the East River. This elevation, along with potential congestion issues and a line design that was never intended to have intermediate station stops adds some significant challenges to the design for a Circumferential Line.
Many of the NYCRR bridges in Astoria are concrete arches and many of those arches seem to be in pretty bad shape. Reconstruction of some of the arches could conceivably be integrated seamlessly with addition of stations around them.
The NYCRR line crosses I-278, Astoria Boulevard, and Steinway Street on a very imposing truss viaduct. This is also an approximate midway point on the line between Roosevelt Avenue and the BMT Ditmars Boulevard station, which might make it a good spot for a Circumferential Line station - perhaps over the irregular lot between Astoria Boulevard and Steinway Street, north of I-278.
The concrete arch over 38th Street seems to be falling apart and is being held together with rails and tension rods. The repairs seem to have been there for awhile as there are limestone stalactites hanging from the metalwork. Terrifying.
The 37th Street Bridge is in a little better shape.
The truss structure needed to carry the rail line over the intersection of 23rd Avenue and 35th Street must contain a tremendous amount of steel. You would think they would have just condemned a building or two and routed traffic through a simpler arch.
Next: Ditmars Boulevard Station