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|Courtesy MTA6/12 |Courtesy MTA
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New York City Transit opened its 469th subway station on Sunday morning — the first in more than two decades.
The $2.4 billion7 trainexpansion into the still-developing Hudson Yards area marks the end of a process that began in earnest 13 years ago. Construction began in 2007.
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The MTA expects 27,000 daily straphangerswho as of Sunday afternoon can enter the new station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue under a glass shell that leads to a lobby with large, colorful mosaics.
"This extension will benefit millions of New Yorkers in so many different ways," MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said on Sunday.
"And just like in the 20th century, when the 7 train created neighborhoods like Long Island City, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, this extension instantly creates an accessible new neighborhood," the transit executive added.
City efforts to rezone the largely industrial section of western Manhattan had led to a commitment of 12.7 million square feet of residential area, or some 9,000 apartments.
As many as 50,000 New Yorkers might also find work in offices and business expected to open as the neighborhood grows.
"We’re very proud of it," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "It is necessary so that this new city within a city can be all it is."
"The jobs that are going to be created here…are not for wealthy people — they're for the secretary who gets on the bus in eastern Queens," Sen. Chuck Schumer said. "They're for the poor person from the South Bronx who gets on the subway and comes down here and makes $25,000 selling food or cleaning the place up or whatever."
Featuring the longest escalator in the subway system, as well as it first-ever inclined elevators that go 11 stories underground, the station was originally supposed to be one of two that came were proposed during the the city's failed bid for the 2012 Olympics.
Budget and construction setbacks forced the MTA to downsize the plans to the single station, from which Bloomberg took a ride to Times Square in 2013 as the MTA promised the project was 90 percent complete at the time.
Even thought the former mayor was not in attendance, many of those gathered praised Bloomberg's vision for Hudson Yards, including de Blasio.
"He believed, he cared, and he got it done," said de Blasio, who served as public advocate during Bloomberg's tenure."It was done through an extraordinary private-public partnership, and it’s going to have, again, a lasting impact on this city."