The new terminal for the 7 Train doesn’t so much look like a subway station as a space station. Wide, cavernous oval tunnels yawn before you and the entire environment seems to be gleaming white. This is what it feels like to walk around the Starship Enterprise.
If you visit on the weekend, you may very well be the only person there, which adds a spooky feel to the sci-fi vibe. Star Trek meets Alien, if you will. There’s something inherently unnerving about a deserted urban landscape, especially one as brand spanking new as this one.
The saga of the 34th St-Hudson Yards station didn’t take long to get rolling. It only took all of two days after the station opened in September before massive delays brought it bad press.
As is their wont, New Yorkers who were celebrating the new terminal one day were cursing it the next.
One camp of New Yorkers were particularly brutal with criticism. On Reddit, a popular topic mocked the MTA for their new station "sh*tting the bed on its third day."
This was gamely defended by one user, who said, “To be fair, most things sh*t the bed when they’re three days old.”
Unfortunately, the obvious answer to this was to point out how unacceptable it is for a $2.4 Billion project which was delayed for two years to “get it right.”
The furor died down, somewhat, only to be re-ignited again in March.
The station has been plagued by steady and unsightly leakage and puddles. One leak even allowed water to spill onto the escalator. This caused a real danger of people slipping and falling, and now the MTA has the inevitable suit pending against them when a New York woman did just that.
If you’ve been to the station, you’ll realize that’s a pretty serious charge. The escalators are absolutely mammoth, some of the largest this writer has ever seen. That’s a pretty strong statement to make in Gotham.
And again, while it’s expected for a new facility to run into problems, this kind of thing cannot help but be seen as negligence. That’s a pretty big escalator, so that’s a long, long way to fall.
Riders began documenting puddles, mold on the walls, even icicles hanging from the ceiling on social media. That Star Trek starship was now morphing into an Indiana Jones-style death trap. Worse, everyone could see it.
The construction company, Yonkers Contracting, will be paying around $3 Million out of their own pocket to address these issues. They can be found at the station at the time of this writing, and we can expect to see them remain there for the foreseeable future.
Independent engineers are being brought in to examine the site. Accusations are flying around the MTA Board. But regardless of who takes the blame, the Board not knowing about these problems until afterwards is very concerning.
After all, the MTA made a hefty investment of time and money with this project, and to have it crumble so soon and so consistently after its bally-hooed Grand Opening cannot help but leave them with egg on their faces.
In the end, the station is going to be just fine. It’s received so much attention and so much bad press that it has no choice but to be improved. Eventually, the 34 St-Hudson Yards Terminal will live up to its beautiful first impressions, and these issues will all fade away.
Until then, New Yorkers are once again learning a hard lesson, that bigger and broader is not always best. That progress and change do not come simply and can be easily derailed.
Not to mention the ultimate impact of the mistakes made during construction have surely yet to play out.
But with the new community of high rise condos springing up like weeds on the far West Side of Manhattan, this station is going to become a vital and necessary addition to the whole of the MTA.
It’s just too bad it had to be so unnecessarily expensive. Gotham is expensive enough already.
Regardless, this prolonged saga over this new station is far too old, far too fast. Too bad there's no sign of it letting up anytime soon.
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