The first new subway station in more than 25 years opened Sunday-- creating a new connection to the transit-starved far west side that will serve more than 32,000 people daily.
The $2.4 billion stop extends the No. 7 line one-and a-half-miles to 34th Street and 11th Avenue from the Times Square station, following almost eight years of construction.
"It will breathe new life into one of Manhattan's final frontiers," said Michael Horodniceanu, president of capital construction for the MTA. "It is the first column-less station in our system. It is incredibly beautiful."
The new station, whose glass canopy entrance is located in Hudson Park, will serve as many as 56,500 riders a day by 2025, according to the mayor's office. The MTA expects the stop to become the transit system's busiest station, due to the nearby Hudson Yards development, High Line, and Jacob Javits Center.
The Hudson Yards area, still under construction, will have as much as 50 million square feet of new development, according to the mayor's office. That includes 20,000 new apartments, 2 million square feet of stores, and 3 million square feet of hotels.
Subway buffs on Sunday lined up outside to gawk at the cleanest station in the subway system. Its features include the subway system's first incline elevators, three public floors, a column-free space, stainless steel tiles, and almost 3,000 square feet of colorful mosaics. It also has the longest escalators in the transit system. There is no cell phone service.
"Well, at least it's better than boy band fan girls," quipped transit enthusiast Max Diamond about rail fans who laid down on the platform to take pictures and rushed into the first passenger train to leave for Times Square. "Some train fans put fan girls to shame."
Subway conductor Janet Rosario, 48, said it was nerve-wracking and exciting to take the first trip on Sunday morning.
"I never thought I would be called to work the first train," she said. "This is an amazing, beautiful station. It was nerve-wracking."
The No. 7 line is used by a half-million riders a day, almost as much as all of Boston's subway ridership, the MTA said.
Trains will leave the new stop on weekdays every 5 minutes or less from the stop to Queens between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., and every 6.5 minutes from then until midnight, according to the MTA.
On weekday overnights, they will run every 12 minutes until 1 a.m., every 15 minutes until 2 a.m., and 20 minutes between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The station was delayed by problems installing the elevators, and at least one was closed off on Sunday afternoon. An FDNY spokesman said firefighters responded to a stuck elevator there shortly before noon.
Workers tunneling to the new station had to avoid the existing Eighth Avenue Subway and the Port Authority Bus Terminal's operations. More than 400,000 cubic yards of excavated rock were taken out on almost 27,000 trips, the MTA said.
Amy Baksh, 49, of Bellerose, said the station was impressive and beautiful, and rode on the first passenger train.
"I think it's going to be very helpful," she said. "I was very surprised and impressed with the ceiling work and the mosaic." The artwork is done by Harlem-based artist Xenobia Bailey.
Some nearby residents said they would miss the isolation that their neighborhood had -- the feeling of being away from it all.
"I did like that it was an untouched area, but it's changing a lot," said artist Jereny Blas, 46. "I'm not excited about that. I knew it wasn't going to last forever."
Other Manhattanites were excited. Linda Alexander, of the Upper West Side, said she and her husband had been looking forward to the opening, and will use the station for her work, as well as traveling to Hudson Park.
"This is opening up another little city," she said.