NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One addition at a newly reopened Brooklyn subway station has some riders scratching their heads asking, “What is this?”
The so-called “leaners” are all over Brooklyn’s 53rd Street subway station in Sunset Park.
As the name suggests, they give subway riders something to lean on comfortably instead of leaning against the wall.
As straphanger Jose Dominguez leaned back, waiting for his train to arrive, he admits that up until today, he was confused.
“I was looking at it and said, ‘Is it to read a book?’ Is it just to lean on?’ And my son said, ‘Pull it out, maybe it’s a foldable seat?'” Dominguez said. “I saw somebody leaning against it and I said this is what it is.”
He wasn’t the only one who thought that.
“At first I thought it was a chair or something,’ Jose Saavedra said.
Both men quickly realized it’s a leaner — an alternative to leaning up against the wall.
The MTA said the leaners will also be helpful to those who have problems getting up from a seat. A spokesperson assured those with disabilities that the leaners will not replace traditional seating, and they take up little floor space. They’re simply another option for subway riders to relax before their train arrives.
CBS2’s Erin Logan asked Kerri Keriostis why she’s still leaning on the wall.
“That’s because I’m short,” Keriostis said. “I didn’t really even know what it was for.”
So, she gave it a try.
“Comfortable?” Logan asked.
“Not really at all because my back is down here so I have to be like this,” Keriostis said, going up on her toes and leaning back.
Still, Keriostis thinks the leaners were a good idea as part of the extensive renovations by the MTA.
What she did notice are changes to the benches.
“There’s a divider so to say ‘this is my space right here don’t lean over,” she said.
Other renovations people are talking about are USB ports, Wi-Fi, and special floor tiling for the visually impaired.
The MTA says the leaners will be helpful to those who have problems getting up from a seat. A spokesperson also assures those with disabilities that the leaners will not replace traditional seating and take up little floor space. They are simply another option for subway riders.