Subway floors look good, smell bad
A woman dashes through a Chambers Street subway station with a white napkin covering the lower part of her face. Shes not guarding herself against the usual odors of a decaying subway system; shes warding off the pungent smell of progress.
The odor, a cross between solvent and nail polish remover, has been irritating commuters in the station serving the No. 1, 2 and 3 train lines since December when workers began installing the shiny, multi-colored floor tiles on the mezzanine.
I actually feel like I've been smoking when I'm there, said Adrinna Paulino, 21, a college student who uses the station daily. Its been going on for weeks and Im concerned about it.
The flooring, made from acrylic and resin, is not toxic and the smell dissipates soon after installation, said a NYC Transit spokesman.
It was tested last spring at Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and at an outdoor stop in Inwood, he said, adding that it may be used on subway platforms and mezzanines on elevated lines in the future.Both transit and Community Board 1 members have received complaints about the odor, which ebbs between faint and overwhelming.
We take every precaution to ensure proper ventilation and circulation, said Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges.
The tiles are cheaper, more durable and easier to clean than the flooring currently used in the system, Fleuranges said. The flooring costs $25 a square foot, less than the granite floors in some stations.
Installation of the floors should be completed at the Chambers Street station in the next few weeks, Fleuranges said.
While Queens rider Erick Pinedo, 44, thinks the new floors look better, he said: It smells like markers, but you have to take the good with the bad.
- Developed by the European fishing industry to provide a durable, washable surface.
- Used in the Oslo subway system.
- Chewing gum resistant.
- Features iridescent gold flecks that can light up exit routes.
Source: NYC Transit