Well, that took long enough. After seven years of delays, changes, and other construction issues, riders on the B, D, F, and M trains are finally able to transfer from the Broadway-Lafayette Station to the uptown 6 train at Bleecker Street.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday was attended by numerous New York politicians, including Transit President Thomas Prendergast and MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, as well as Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, assembly member Deborah Glick and councilmember Margaret Chin. Those who spoke before the opening praised the new transfer as well as the numerous problems the MTA still faces.
“The truth is, we learned a very valuable lesson in the ’70s when we deferred maintenance and didn’t invest in our capital projects; we had a subway system that was in great deterioration,” Manhattan Borough President Stringer told Gothamist. “I’m very glad that we’ve learned the lessons from the past and moving forward we have an MTA Chairman that truly understands that investing in our transit system is really investing in New York City.”
The new transfer fixed what has long been one of the most obvious flaws in the New York subway system. During the 1940s and 50s, when the City of New York connected the subway lines operated by the three separate subway companies in New York (the IRT, the IND, and the BMT), the transfer between Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker was only half-completed. The downtown transfer was opened in 1957, while the uptown transfer was left closed and unfinished.
For 50 years, Lower East Side and Brooklyn residents who used the B, D, F, and M trains and wanted to head uptown on the 6 train had to walk out of the Broadway-Lafayette station and use an extra Metrocard swipe to enter the Bleecker Street station and the 6 train. This problem, which the MTA apparently thought wasn’t much of an issue, has often lead to New Yorkers cursing out station agents when they off get at Broadway-Lafayette expecting a transfer.
The other notable feature of the new transfer station is the public arts project Hive, a hexagonal honeycomb lightshow designed by artist Leo Villareal that is attached to the ceiling above the uptown 6 transfer platform. Villareal’s art installation, which looks like it’ll be a great destination for anyone looking to drop Acid, was created using LED lights and changes colors and creates the appearance that the light is moving. Just make sure not to look to intently while walking down to the platform (the MTA already had enough issues with people using their stairs).
The new station is expected to ease the commute of over 30,000 riders every day. Now if only the MTA can get around to actually opening the Second Avenue Subway during our lifetime.