NYC opens 1st new subway in 20 years

March 16, 2009 5:21:06 PM PDT
New York City's first new subway station in 20 years opened on Monday. Gov. David Paterson joined Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and other elected officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the South Ferry station in lower Manhattan.

"This station is vital to the residents, commuters and tourists who pass through it each day by allowing for increased subway service, better connections and spurring economic growth in lower Manhattan," Paterson said.

Just after it opened Monday, the station closed for about three hours when a water main burst in lower Manhattan. Service was restored just before 4 p.m.

The station, which will serve about 6 million riders a year, takes over for one built in 1905. That old station only had one exit and the platform was built to accommodate only five train cars, so riders had to walk to the front of the train to get out.

The new platform, a short distance away but in the same vicinity, allows all 10 cars to open. The station has two elevators and seven escalators.

The new station also is home to public art. "See It Split, See It Change" is a work from Brooklyn-based artists Doug and Mike Starn. The project features silhouettes of trees and a mosaic map of Manhattan on the station's white walls, and a fence featuring a tree motif.

Passengers using the new station will have easy access to the street, Battery Park, and the Staten Island ferry. The old station will be used as a train storage facility.

The $527 million project originally was slated to open in 2007 but suffered from delays including leaky ceilings and a gap between the platform and the train.

Construction workers excavating the subway tunnel found remnants of a pre-Revolutionary wall, a section of which has been preserved and put on display in the new station. Thousands of other artifacts were also discovered during the construction effort.

The last opening of a subway station was in 1989 on the "F" line.


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