'Furniture' to keep subway stations dry

September 19, 2008 3:49:47 PM PDT
It looks like furniture, but don't try sitting on it. You'll find them in some New York subway stations, specially made drains, that subway officials will prevent a repeat of the floods that have sometimes crippled the nation's largest mass transit system.

At first glance pedestrians, like Raymond Mordekan aren't sure what the new stainless steel grate is.

"Maybe its some sort of performance art or something," said Mordekan.

The raised subway vent isn't a piece of art but a long awaited solution to keep water from draining into the subway tunnels everytime there's a bad storm. The MTA unveiled the new street furniture, as they're calling it on the corner of Hillside ave. and Sutphin boulevard.

"By raising the vent grating high enough above the water level essentially preventing water from going into the subway system," said John O'Grady.

There are 1,200 subway grates along Hillside ave. and the MTA says when the project is completed 200-of them will be raised.

MTA officials also say the raised grate works. It's design was tested several weeks ago when Hurricane Hannah hit the city and flood waters disrupted subway service for only 15 minutes.

Very different from a year ago last month when large scale flooding crippled service during the morning commute. The size and shape though has taken many by surprise like Queens Borough President Helen Marshal

"I'm not entirely negative on it because it's a solution," she said.

Others question whether the size is safe. Some think children may want to climb through it.

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Thalia Patillo

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