A Retro Ride: The Old Greyhound Bus Station
That 3 hour bus trip to Port Authority is one of the perks of living in Binghamton. While parts of that bus ride have changed, like Wifi and phone charging, a lot of the Binghamton bus experience has stayed the same.
Stationed on the corner of Chenango and Henry Streets in downtown Binghamton, the bus station still looks the same as it did when it was built in 1938 and that's no mistake.
In 2005, restorations started on the building when Broome County decided to create a consolidated bus terminal. A conscious effort was made keep the retro character of the building intact.
“The county came in and added on the spaces for the other bus lines and BC Transit. They did very respectful rehabilitation," says Gerry Smith, Broome County Historian.
There's still a diner inside, the facade is unchanged, and just last week, the Greyhound sign was fixed to light up once again. Utica Signs and Graphics took on the job, removing the burnt-out neons and replacing them with replicas of the originals.
Utica Signs and Graphics testing the new neon lights.
The Binghamton station was one of around 60 just like it, built across the country between 1910 and 1940.
“Greyhound branded themselves with a similar look for bus stations for three decades," says Smith.
“The style is called Streamline Moderne," says 100 Years Ago Today Historian Roger Luther, "It’s supposed to give the impression of a streamline and speed.”
Now, while other terminals have modernized, the Binghamton station is one of only six in the country that kept the iconic design.
“People have come through and said, ‘you have a very nice bus station,’ and we go, ‘yes we do,'" says Smith.
The fixed neon sign shining at night in downtown Binghamton. The greyhound at the top is animated to look like it's running.
The station also inspired Binghamton-native and Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling. A similar setting appeared in the popular episode "Mirror Image."
“It was very reminiscent of what he remembered of this station," says Luther.
A lot has changed since Serling wrote about it. For instance, you can now get your tickets online, but you can still go old school and visit the ticket window. And that neon greyhound still runs over the sign out front.