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Smell that? These are the MTA's stinkiest subways

Cindy Martinez, 37 of Astoria, Queens complained about

Cindy Martinez, 37 of Astoria, Queens complained about the odors in the station. (Nicholas Grant) Photo Credit: Cindy Martinez, 37 of Astoria, Queens complained about the odors in the station. (Nicholas Grant)

Besides watching the gap — you should be holding your nose when passing through some of these subway stations.

In a poll regarding the city’s smelliest subway stations, the Bronx’s 138th St. — Grand Concourse station ranked worst, edging out 34th Street-Herald Square for the “stankiest,” according to a Transportation Alternatives report released today.

Preston Calder, 57, summed up the Grand Concourse station’s stench in one word: “Rank.”

“The smell of garbage, the smell of urination — it’s pretty rank,” said Calder, of the Bronx. “This is the worst.”

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives polled riders to find one station in each borough with the most offensive odor. Andthis week, New Yorkers voted online and via text message for worst in the entire city.

“While recent budget cuts in the state legislature have forced subway riders to deal with higher fares and less frequent trains, it has also led to cut backs in the general upkeep of stations,” said Paul Steely White, the group’s executive director. “Stations have got dirtier and smellier and the conditions are unacceptable.”

Bronx resident John Baxter said the Grand Concourse station — which received 35% of votes — was one of the least hygienic in the entire system.

“I don’t know what the MTA is using their resources for, but it’s certainly not for cleaning,” said Baxter, 61, adding that straphangers should also do a better job tossing their trash away properly.

Transport Workers Union Vice President Maurice Jenkins said the Bronx station’s odor has been a problem for years.

“You have mold, rodent carcasses and stagnant water,” Jenkins said.

Smell scientist Avery Gilbert said human waste, pooled water from leaks and dead rodents can contribute to a station’s scent, and even some cleaning solutions are off-putting to some people.

Gilbert said the MTA does a good job, “by and large, given size of the system and the number of people in it.”

Waiting for an uptown train at Herald Square, Cindy Martinez said she wasn’t surprised the station was rated second-worst in the survey.

“It’s the stench of wet garbage, sewage,” Martinez, of Astoria said, adding that the station’s elevator smells as if “Like someone used it like a bathroom.”

“It smells like somebody took a dump in the elevator,” Martinez, 37, said. 

An MTA spokesman declined to comment on the survey last night, saying the agency hadn’t yet reviewed it.

Follow Marc Beja on Twitter: @Marc_Beja


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