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By Carolyn Sackstein 

Since the renovation of Port Jefferson train station in 2019, some previously available seating has been either relocated or removed. 

One village resident, who agreed to be interviewed for this story but asked to be unnamed, suggested that a lack of available seating at the station poses an unnecessary burden for the elderly and physically disabled. 

“There is no reason we shouldn’t have access to seating, enough of it available to all,” the resident said. “We have to treat all people with dignity. People who are handicapped, those who are paying, the railroad owes us a seat as well as comfort.”

While the indoor ticket area has seating for 12, these seats are available only from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the time when the area is closed to the public, outdoor seating becomes limited. 

With few options to sit along the platform, some passengers have resorted to sitting on the floor or on the steps of the platform.

Gregory Adams, above, said the present layout of the train station impedes his ability to sit comfortably.
Photo by Carolyn Sackstein

Gregory Adams, a resident of Wyandanch, uses a cane to walk. He said the present layout of the train station impedes his ability to sit comfortably while waiting for a train. 

“A person like me waiting for the train needs to sit down,” he said. “Not having a place to sit has been a hardship. I have to sit on the steps over there, waiting.” 

Historical context

The Port Jefferson station has undergone a series of transformations over the last few decades.

A 2001 restoration of the station returned the facility to its 1903 design by architects John J. Petit and James C. Green. In 2019 Long Island Rail Road completed its most recent updates with a refurbished and painted ticketing area, updated restrooms, new paving, curbing and signage, electronic charging stations, parking stall painting, traffic flow markings and brick paver walkways. The restoration was much needed, according to some village residents who are pleased overall with the improvements made to the layout.

Until recently, there was only one designated outdoor seating area at the station, located on the far end of the platform. This enclosure includes a bench with armrests that designate six seats. It is located between the pedestrian bridge, which links the south parking lot to the platform north of the tracks, and the ticketing area.

Village resident Mary Dylan was sitting on the new bench when TBR News Media asked her for a comment. Dylan considered her experience of using the new seating area to be a positive one. “It is nice to see all the new improvements [at the station] and I particularly like the new bench put there,” she said. 

TBR News Media approached several other people at the station for comment on the subject of seating. While most were also unwilling to provide their names, some offered commentary of their own experiences with the facility and its amenities. 

The indoor ticketing area is manned by at least one LIRR employee during business hours. Those questioned said the presence of LIRR personnel on-site provided a sense of comfort and security for those sitting indoors. 

Other riders said they prefer to wait outside in the fresh air. One person preferred to wait outside as the indoor area is away from public view. 

Adams and some other concerned passengers were pleased to learn that the new bench was recently installed outside the ticketing area. The installation of this seating area, which lies on the east side of the ticket office, is an indicator that LIRR is responding to public concerns. 

Correction: In an earlier version of this article, famed architect Stanford White was falsely credited for the 1903 design of Port Jefferson train station. The true architects of the station were John J. Petit and James C. Green.