Lower Manhattan is about to get a brand-new, state-of-the-art subway station. It is the first new station built by the city since the 1980s. NY1's Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
For beleaguered riders who use the South Ferry station in Lower Manhattan, things are about to change. In just a few weeks, the station will be closed and replaced by a bigger and better South Ferry station that promises to transform their commutes in early January.
"People's commutes will be a lot faster hopefully because they will be able first of all to get on and off faster here,” said President Michael Horodniceanu of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction Company. “The capacity at entry points is much larger. We now have only one entry point into the old station. Here we have three points."
The existing station, which dates to 1905, has such a sharp curve that mechanical gap-fillers must be used to let passengers board the train.
That will not be necessary at the gleaming new station, which will be fully accessible, and features two elevators, seven escalators, security cameras, a new control room, air conditioning, a new underground transfer to the R/W trains at Whitehall Street.
The station also has an array of artwork, including glass panels with silhouetted images of trees, a sculpted stainless steel fence and a marble mosaic that incorporates a topographic map of Manhattan from 1640.
Another incorporated historical detail is the Battery Wall, a colonial-era seawall uncovered during excavation, part of which has been reconstituted and displayed on the mezzanine.
The new station will also improve operations.
The existing South Ferry station has an extremely short platform, meaning riders have to move up into the first five cars of the train in order to exit. In addition, there is only one platform, meaning the station can only accommodate one train at a time, which slows the entire 1 line.
"We're going to be able to run 24 trains an hour from here, as opposed to 16 to 17 in the past," said Horodniceanu.
Altogether, the MTA estimates riders could save four to six minutes per trip with the new South Ferry station.
The cash-strapped MTA could afford the $530 million price tag, since most of the funding came from federal money earmarked for the rebuilding of Downtown Manhattan.