Sunday, April 26, 2009

South Ferry Station

Updated Sun. 1/27/2013:
The South Ferry Station was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Ben Kabak, of 2nd. Ave.Sagas, posted this set of 47 images on his Flickr page.  Keep in mind that this is what the station looks like more than three months after the storm.


The Daily News reported on Friday April 24th that the MTA may be about to announce that the opening date for the Second Avenue Subway has been pushed back again -- to 2016.

Here's the article:
"Second Ave. subway set back - again" - NY Daily News - 4/24/09


On Saturday I ventured downtown to have a look at the new $527 million South Ferry Subway Terminal, which opened about a month ago.

You might ask yourself, "why is he posting pictures of the South Ferry subway station on a blog that focused on the 2nd Avenue Subway?"

Because I've been told that the architectural and engineering design of the South Ferry Station station is very similar to what we'll see when the first set of new stations for the 2nd Avenue Subway opens, in about 7 years. I also wanted to see for myself what the first new MTA subway station in almost twenty years looked like.

This is the new South Ferry Terminal Central Entry Pavilion - which provides access to the terminal from Peter Minuit Plaza.

As a comparison, this is the current design for one of the Second Avenue Subway entrances at 96th Street.

Architectural Finishes and Design (96th, 86th and 72nd Street Stations)
MTA presentation to Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force - 10/28/08

And this is the South Ferry Terminal Southern Entry Pavilion (for Staten Island Ferry Access)
There are two escalators and a stairway at this location.
(The MTA worker, with the orange safety vest, was giving directions to people when I was there.)

This is a side view of the same pavilion.

This is a stairway that leads nowhere -- unless you're an MTA employee who needs access to the door shown on the left.

This is a reconstruction of a small part of the 350-year-old Battery Wall that was uncovered during the construction of the new station.

The art work in the new station is spectacular. I would recommend a visit to the station just to see the works of art, by Brooklyn-based artists Doug and Mike Starn.

A close-up shot of the same piece.

A mosaic map of Manhattan. The detail, as you can see in the following close-up, in incredible.

The artwork at this location is sort of ominous, like you are entering a jungle.

And a track level you can see that this is a thoroughly modern station.

And in this image trains are arriving and departing at the same time -- at very slow speeds.

For further information on the South Ferry Subway Terminal I would recommend these three links:

"MTA Opens New South Ferry Subway Terminal"
MTA Press Release, 3/16/2009

South Ferry Terminal - MTA Capital Construction

"Inside the new South Ferry Terminal"
By Benjamin Kabak, Second Avenue Sagas, 12/12/08


Anonymous said...

On that stairway to nowhere, it looks like they built the stairway not realizing it was on the wrong side.

Looks nice. But still, for over $500 million I was expecting a little bit more.

Aaron Dalton said...

Um, I believe this is the station that flooded the first weekend it was open.

When I visited a month or so ago, I saw a station that looked moderately better than most current MTA stations.

The thing to keep in mind is how the station will fare over years of heavy use. Already, the floor tiles look like crap. The MTA insists on using floor materials that don't stand up well to millions of shoes trudging over them every year.

Instead of using easily broken tiles, the MTA at least sensibly used larger panels to line the tracks. These look easier to clean and perhaps will be more durable.

The extraordinarily long escalator on the Staten Island side was out of order when I visited (going both up and down from the concourse to the street).

Another entire exit was closed for construction.

The platform is wider than some, but still dangerously narrow in places when passing stairways etc. (I just read about someone getting killed on the tracks at the 86th Street Lexington Ave. station.)

If renovating a station like this costs $500 million in America today, we should give up on subways.

Many European cities have done a great job with trolley systems which must be less expensive to build and maintain.

The future of transit in NYC should be to scrap large sections of the subway and replace with street-level trolleys and broad bike boulevards. I applaud what Bloomberg is doing in this regard on Broadway in Manhattan.

That's my 2 cents - and then some!

- Aaron Dalton, Editor,

Ben said...

Yes, this is the station that was temporary closed, due to a water main break, on the day that it opened.

Also -- one of the two escalators, at the Staten Ferry entrance, was out of service when I was there on April 25th.