Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a ceremonial ride Friday on the first train to pull into a new subway station on Manhattan's rapidly developing far West Side, but the rest of us need to wait a while. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
In the final days of his administration, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took Friday the first ride into the 7 line's $2.4 billion extension to the 34th Street-Hudson Yards station, a project he championed and that the city bankrolled.
"This was a historic ride," Bloomberg said. "It's the perfect symbol of New York City, of what it's become, once again, a place where big projects can be done."
However, it's not done yet. The new station isn't actually opening to the public until June - at least, that's the projected date - and the constructions signs are everywhere.
That wasn't stopping the mayor from taking a victory ride on a special almost-empty five-car train into a station that's a huge and pricey piece of the city's plans for a rapidly changing area.
"Our city is moving full speed ahead on our vision for the West Side," Bloomberg said.
That vision includes developers pouring billions of dollars into new housing and office space, more transit options, and the first city-funded extension of a subway line since 1950.
"This is just the catalyst," said Stephen Ross of Related Companies. "This subway here makes it all happen."
Construction on the 7 line extension started six years ago, with caverns carved into a station that's expected to serve close to 30,000 riders a day.
More than 9,000 feet of tunnels were burrowed from Times Square all the way down to 26th Street by huge machines with names very familiar to the mayor: Emma and Georgina, his daughters.
"It's one of the few privileges the mayor has. They let me name the two boring machines," Bloomberg said. "And it worked!"
It earned the mayor a memento from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
"This is a piece of the rock that was excavated on No. 7, and I'm sure that will make it somewhere on one of your shelves," said Michael Horodniceanu of MTA Capital Construction.
It also earned the mayor a heaping of praise.
"For Hudson Yards, the future is really here today," said Ann Weisbrod of the Hudson Yards Development Corp. "This is truly the miracle on 34th Street."
Now, if only the station can open on time so riders who aren't the outgoing mayor can start going through.