The street-level entrance on the newly-reopened northbound platform at the BMT Broadway’s Cortlandt St. station. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)
When the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, two subways around Lower Manhattan were badly damaged, but the MTA sprung into gear. Although both Cortlandt St. stops were destroyed, the station along the R/W and the 1 line south of Chambers St. — but not its Cortlandt St. station — reopened for service on Sept. 15, 2002. In 2005, though, the R/W station was again shuttered, this time to make way for various projects around Ground Zero.
On Wednesday, one platform at Cortlandt St. on the BMT Broadway line — the R/W station right near Century 21 — reopened. Although the southbound platform will remain closed until Sept. 11, 2011 to allow for Port Authority construction of their PATH train hub, the northbound platform — sans the Fulton St. Transit Center’s Dey St. connection — is in service for the first time in four years.
“Today we celebrate a significant step forward in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan,” MTA CEO and Chairman Jay Walder said at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The MTA has played a key role in the revival of Downtown and we’re excited to provide customers with an improved station just in time for the holidays. The opening re-establishes a key travel link for Lower Manhattan residents, commuters, shoppers and tourists.”
The new station isn’t a radical departure from the past as the new South Ferry is. Rather, Cortlandt St. features some basic improvements. The station, which used to service approximately 15,000 passengers a day, has wider staircases and platforms. The walls have been retiled, and the station is sporting a fresh coat of paint.
“The opening of the northbound platform signifies an important milestone towards the completion of the Fulton Street Transit Center Project,” Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction, said. “This is an important day for the community and we will continue this great momentum so that customers enjoy additional benefits as each element of the project is completed.”
As MTA officials and New York politicians gathered yesterday to celebrate the reopening, the station though remains dominated by blue construction walls. The southbound side is now fully encased behind blue construction walls, and what will eventually be the Dey St. Connector to the rest of the Fulton St. complex will not open until 2012. Still, politicians praised the gradual debut of pieces of the new Fulton St. Transit Center.
“Today’s reopening of the uptown platform of the Cortlandt Street subway station is another step toward repairing the damage inflicted by the September 11th terrorist attacks,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Projects like the Dey Street passageway, which the Cortlandt Street subway station was closed to make way for, are making Lower Manhattan an even more attractive place to live and work, and will draw families and businesses in the process.”
With renderings of the Dey St. passageway and eventual Fulton St. hub decorating the station, the Cortland St. platform is a welcome readdition to the Lower Manhattan transit picture. Slowly, slowly, progress builds apace.
Click through for a slideshow from the new station.