Renovations reveal life of ticket agent at Gibson


While renovating the upstairs apartment at the Gibson train station to transform it into an office space, foreman Joe Varley found some of Carrie Heinecke’s old belongings. Heinecke worked as the ticket agent at the station and lived in the apartment upstairs.

The belongings include a valentine, a box of chocolates and a wooden golf club in her apartment. “Nothing extraordinary,” he said, but added that they would keep looking.

Heinecke lived in the upstairs apartment for many years until her death in 1970, according to her granddaughter Kathy Finn. “Since I’ve known her, that’s always been grandma’s house,” Finn, who is now 63-years-old, said.

During the day, Heinecke would sit downstairs and sell tickets for the Long Island Rail Road while her dog, Candy, sat in the window and watched the trains pass by. Passengers and train conductors would often stop to pet Candy and speak to Heinecke. At Christmas time, Heinecke would also give out hot chocolate, Finn said.

“She was loved,” she said.

After her shift was over, Heinecke would retire to her upstairs apartment, where she would sit in the kitchen while Candy begged for treats. According to Finn, Heinecke would then say, “Ok,

I’ll give you a treat. But you have to start

a diet.”

“That dog was always on a diet,” Finn recalled.

Finn also remembered how the apartment looked. She said that the kitchen was to the right, with a green and white porcelain sink. Down the hall, the apartment had a sewing room and a bathroom leading up to the master bedroom with two beds that “were so high up I had to go up on my knees,” Finn said.

Heinecke died while Finn was at school. “I never got to say goodbye to my grandmother,” she said.

The plaque that has since been dedicated in Heinecke’s memory and will not be removed during construction, LIRR branch line Manager Alicia Melo said. “I want them to keep everything original,” she said of the construction workers.

She added that the construction workers would also work to preserve an old light fixture that belonged to a longtime foreman, as well as an old rotary telephone.