Benson Street Station’s Fairytale Ending

It’s hard to believe that the once-dilapidated structure of the Benson Street train station in Glen Ridge has morphed into this. But here it is — now a private residence — a veritable fairy tale cottage, replete with slate roof, copper flashings, Belgian block driveway and plantings galore. 

Photo by Paul Zalewski.

As we reported in 2009, the building was sold by NJ Transit to the Moriartys, a Glen Ridge family with well-known renovation chops. They’ve repeatedly declined requests for interviews, but this much you can see from the street.

Starting in 1957, the station was leased by NJ Transit to Jimmy Wilson , then 7, for $15 a month. Wilson operated the station and set out a coffee urn daily for Glen Ridge commuters until 2002, when NJ Transit closed the Lackawanna Boonton line and started its Midtown Direct service from Montclair. Afterwards, the structure became a railroad museum, falling into disrepair. The Borough of Glen Ridge declared it dangerous in 2007.

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  1. I have been dying to comment on this building for months now as I pass it every day. They took a lovely, detailed renovation and covered it up with more junk than you’d ever care to see in front of a house. It is out of control, statues, dollhouses, lamps. I swore Sanford and Son must live there.

    Please, I beg of the owner. Do your lovely home a favor, it doesn’t need all the extras. It is becoming an absolute eyesore.

  2. Wow, that comment is harsh. As a historical building one quick permit away from demolition, I would think residents would be appreciative of what the Moriartys did.

  3. God Bless the Moriartys.

    So they went over the top. Who cares? Obviously KKGR doesn’t remember when the Moriarty’s were going to pull out from the deal. The train station was a rat infested dump — it needed to be saved. My family drove by daily to see how they were doing on the renovation. I also remember thinking, “they’ll probably stop soon.” But they didn’t. They kept adding on, so it eventually resembled a Thomas Kinkade painting. But I don’t care. It looks cool. And that vegetable garden across the street is a huge! Who owns that? And how about those RR tracks? When is someone going to rip up those things so we can get a decent bike path to Newark?

  4. My son’s godfather lives a few houses away from the staion and we have had fun watching the tranformation. I love it!

    It is full of whimsy and fun but if I’m not careful I will drive off the road trying to take it all in.

  5. I was simply stating that this house is a tad bit over accessorized and that the accessories are taking away from the beauty of the renovation. I think it’s a fantastic house, it’s just a shame you can’t see it.

  6. Krisin, what the heck is that avatar you use? All this time I thought it was a cardinal or perhaps some kind of rooster, but I see that it’s a superhero of some sort. SuperBaristaChick, maybe?

  7. “Please, I beg of the owner. Do your lovely home a favor, it doesn’t need all the extras. It is becoming an absolute eyesore.”

    Eeew! What a mean-spirited comment to make about someone else’s home! Look at the before picture, check out where that run-down building was headed and keep your “nasty” out of the comments – no one said you have to like their home’s decor. ( yeah, THEIR home. Not yours.)

  8. Frank,

    Perhaps a “quick permit” in some towns, but I’m happy to say that I live in a town that worked very hard for many years to save the station, and that would have fought tooth-and-nail to stop any attempt at tear it down.

    The Moriartys deserve a giant “thank-you” and have done a fabulous job (as I was confident they would), but also deserving tremendous credit for this desirable outcome is the Borough of Glen Ridge, and most especially our Administrator, Deputy Administrator and Borough Attorney.

  9. I love it! Every time I pass by I slow down to see as much as I can of it. So happy to see such a whimsical, beautiful building instead of the sad remains of that little train station. I’d love to see interior pics. Any chance of that?

  10. “I have been dying to comment on this building for months now as I pass it every day.”

    Geez, get a life. It looks great to me and a good job for preserving a beautiful buidling.

  11. Carl,
    My apologies to GR for my thoughtless generalization and kudos to all for their efforts!

  12. In these times, let’s be thankful for a cheerful renovation of a structure in disrepair! And the property taxes that it brings to the community.

  13. God Bless them for caring. Chacun à son goût for the outdoor ornaments. The delightful spot reminds me of Positano or Kennebunkport or Sag Harbor. So creative!

  14. Another weak effort by Cathar to show his ‘rare intelligence’.

    Yes it’s kitschy but have a sense of humor, people! This lady took an eyesore and turned into a whimsical gem. Not to encoursage copy-cats, but I did peek in the window one evening and it’s like a little dollhouse inside, very sweet.

  15. I feel the renovation is good, though I agree that the decorating style is a little intense…

    Although, I really don’t believe that anybody really lives there. It looks pretty vacant whenever I drive by.

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