The long-delayed, inconveniently anticipated, and, of course, cost overrun new South Ferry Station has opened today; it’s New York City’s first new subway station in twenty years. Originally set to open in 2007, the $527 million project was designed for “better connections” and to spur economic growth in Lower Manhattan.

For the longest time, South Ferry presented a unique problem for commuters: the station’s platform was half the length of the train. Only the first five cars of the 10-car IRT #1 Line were able to open their doors at the platform; riders seated (or, more likely, standing) in the rear half of the train would have to move to the front if they wanted to get off. The new station has solved that problem…now the train fits into the station.

South Ferry is both the terminus and starting point for the IRT #1 Line and is situated at the edge of a 180 degree curve in the tracks. Downtown trains, ending at South Ferry, would simply continue along the curve and become uptown trains as they repeated their run. When the station was built, nearly 110 years ago, most trains consisted of no more than five cars. As commuter usage rose and trains became longer through the last century, South Ferry’s short by 5 difficulty arose. However, the 180 degree curve posed a challenge: plans to lengthen the platform were either too problematic or too expensive.

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. (HDTV2)

Again, we shall see what we shall see…like it or not.

Photos: NY Times