South Ferry station reopens after being destroyed by Superstorm Sandy

The South Ferry station reopened on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, after being destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The South Ferry station reopened on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, after being destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Photo Credit: Nicole Brown

At the MTA, what’s old is new again.

The South Ferry station in lower Manhattan, which was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, reopened Tuesday, the MTA said.

The renovated station will bring a host of upgrades — just like it had when it first opened in 2009. The old South Ferry 1 train platform, first built in 1905, could only fit the first five cars of a train because of its curved platform layout. This required repeat announcements and a halt in service at the Rector Street station to allow for riders to make their way to the front of the train.

“Those three minutes it took to move up the train could be the matter of making or missing your ferry,” said Craig Robinson, a Mariners Harbor resident who relies on the 1 train to get to work each day. “So it’s a good thing, finally.”

The old South Ferry platform was also hot and extremely loud. As the 1 train pulled in, its wheels screeching against the curved rail, commuters could be seen plugging their ears with their pointer fingers. The new station is ADA accessible and will be outfitted with Wi-Fi.

To riders, although the station is in Manhattan, its placement just outside the Whitehall Ferry Terminal makes it, in spirit, Staten Island’s station.

“Staten Island always gets the short end of the stick,” said Maureen Connelly, of Concord — or in this case, the short end of the platform. Connelly added that the station’s stairway layout led to long lines of riders trying to leave and catch their boat.

“It was bedlam trying to get out during the construction,” Connelly said.

The new South Ferry originally opened at a price tag of more than $500 million. But after just a few years of service, Sandy inundated the stop with 15 million gallons of corrosive salt water and other debris. The rehabilitation work took nearly five years and cost another $344 million.

Still, some saw charm in the old South Ferry station’s gap-filler chain fence, which juts out from the platform to meet trains, and the loop station design.

“Obviously for practical reasons the new station needs to open, but it’s now just another part of New York City history,” said George Barreto, a Fort Greene resident who traveled to the station to catch some of the last 1 trains to use the old station. “We’re sad to see it go.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of years the rehabilitation took. It was five years.