Mayor Michael Bloomberg rode the 7 train on Friday from Times Square to its new endpoint at 34th St. and 11th Ave. Credit: Courtesy of the Mayor's Office
As part of his farewell tour through the five boroughs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopped on the 7 train Friday morning and rode it to depths no one has ventured before: the new extension that terminates at 34th St. and 11th Ave.
The $2.4 billion extension to the far west side of Manhattan is a city-funded project linked to the 45-block Hudson Yards development. It is the first extension of the subway system that the city has funded since 1950 — "when, for the record," Bloomberg said Friday, "I was eight years old."
Bloomberg touted this project as evidence of his administration's devotion to large-scale infrastructure projects. Such projects have been credited with keeping the city's economy strong through two recessions, and boosting tourism to unprecedented levels despite the challenge posed by fear of terrorism post-9/11.
"Historically, our city's development has followed the trail blazed by the iron horse, our city's subway system," the mayor said, noting that his administration has made infrastructure one of its "bedrock principles."
"All of this project has made more jobs, more customers for local businesses," Bloomberg said.
The mayor, who said he used his Senior Citizen MetroCard to board the train, apparently prefers the rails to the road.
"I virtually never take the bus but I take the subway a lot," he said, and marveled at how the subway system has changed since he moved to New York City in 1966. He recounted a story from a woman who told him she road the subway home at 2:30 a.m. and "never looked over her shoulder, never had an instant of fear."
The mayor acknowledged and thanked everyone involved in the project, all the way down to "the sandbags and others who do earth-moving work down here everyday." Those sandhogs had granted the mayor the opportunity to name the two tunnel-boring machines used in the projects; he named them after his two daughters.
When asked about possibly extending the 7 train even further, all the way down to West 4th St., the mayor, whose term ends in just eleven days, did not equivocate.
"I've always thought it was a great idea but someone else is going go have to champion that," he said.