With South Ferry station still perhaps years away from returning to service due to Hurricane Sandy, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will revive a decommissioned station at the same location as early as next month, officials said on Friday.
The old station had been put into retirement in 2009, replaced by a gleaming new station that cost over $500 million to construct. But the new station suffered perhaps the worst damage of any corner of the transit system during Hurricane Sandy, leading officials to predict that it could take as long as three years to rebuild it completely, at an estimated cost of $600 million.
The prospect of reopening the old station at first seemed remote, but in recent weeks, officials hinted that returning some service to the stop — the last on the No. 1 train and a critical connection for Staten Island Ferry riders — was essential. In the station’s absence, riders have been forced to either walk to the No. 1 at Rector Street, take the R train from Whitehall Street, or use the No. 4 or 5 train at Bowling Green.
Thomas F. Prendergast, the interim executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said last month that the inconvenience was “just too hard” for riders to bear for years to come.
But restoring the old hub is no easy task. The station’s loop track has been used since the storm as a turnaround point for No. 1 trains, but the station itself was long known for its peculiar layout. For one, the sharp curve of the platform allowed only passengers in the first five cars to disembark.
“It’s not a perfect solution,” said Allen P. Cappelli, a board member from Staten Island. “But it’s much appreciated.”
Officials have said that they are not aware of any decommissioned station ever returning to use as a passenger hub in the agency’s history.