It is out with the new and in with the old at the South Ferry station.
Built in 1905, the old platform station was built higher above ground and suffered less damage from Hurricane Sandy than the new station.
The century-old station has been closed since the new South Ferry Station opened in 2009, but was pressed into service last week to accommodate the more than 10,000 daily riders in Lower Manhattan whose commutes were disrupted after the new South Ferry station suffered massive flooding from Sandy.
“You had to wait or you had to switch at another station,” said Laurie Ferrari of Tottenville, Staten Island. “Here you can just grab the 1 (train) and go.”
Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers quickly began work on restoring lighting and repainting station walls after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that service on the 1 line would be restored in Lower Manhattan.
“As MTA New York City Transit assessed the extent of damage to the new South Ferry station, it became clear that the time necessary to repair it would be too long a period to deny our customers a direct link to lower Manhattan,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast in a press release.
Riders who normally took the 1 to or from South Ferry station had to walk four blocks to the nearest 1 line stop on Rector Street, or two blocks west to the 4/5 Bowling Green station. The rush of commuters to the 4/5 lines packed subway cars, with people often fending off others to cram onto the trains during rush hour.
“Having to walk to the 5 train was very inconvenient, especially during the cold weather,” said Gary Dennis of West Brighton, Staten Island.
The recently refurbished South Ferry station that underwent a $545 million renovation and expansion was inundated by Sandy’s storm surges that filled 15 million gallons of salt water into the station, coating walls with a blue-green residue and corroding switch boards, relay switches and circuit breakers. Two window panels on the mezzanine level were also blown out onto the tracks.
Trains began pulling into the station as of 5 a.m. Thursday morning, and include a new connection point between the new station mezzanine and the old South Ferry station, allowing transfers between the 1 train and the R train’s Whitehall Street station.
MTA officials estimate it will take at least two years and cost $600 million to fully restore the South Ferry station. Sandy caused nearly $5 billion in damages to New York subways, according to the MTA. (http://).