Old South Ferry Station Set To Open Next Week For Staten Island Ferry Riders

Diane J. Savino

March 28, 2013

The lesson here is never to give up on a good idea. The station is old and it only serves the first five cars, but, it beats having nothing until the new South Ferry Station reopens. Thanks to MTA interim President Thomas Pendergast and the Governor for hearing my call to help tens of thousands of Island commuters.

Staten Island Advance Article, March 28, 2013

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Get ready to move to the first five cars of the 1 Train, Staten Island.

The original South Ferry subway station -- used by tens of thousands of Staten Island Ferry commuters every day -- is on track to re-open to commuters next week, in line with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement earlier this month, according to an MTA source.

The exact date when service will be restored has not yet been revealed.

Workers are in the final stages of preparing the old station for use once again, including the development of access points for passengers. The old station was taken out of service in 2009 when the $530 million new station was built. But that station was flooded, floor to ceiling, by Hurricane Sandy, and needs a complete rebuild, which will take an estimated 2-3 years.

The return to the old station means a return to one nagging feature: The need for South Ferry-bound riders to be in one of the train's first five cars if they wish to get off. That's because the station was built 108 years ago as a U-turn at the end of the city's very first subway line -- it can only accommodate half the cars on the train.

Riders will soon routinely be serenaded with conductor announcements warning of their need to be in place. Once again, befuddled tourists will be asking anyone who will listen: Am I in the right place? And for the first time in years, we'll routinely see some riders cruise through South Ferry on the way back to Rector Street, because they weren't clued into the unique protocol.

Some signs advising riders of the change have already been posted in some subway cars on the line.

The borough's elected officials and Allen P. Cappelli, Staten Island's representative to the MTA Board, had aggressively pressed the MTA to reopen the station, citing the needs of Staten Island commuters. At first the MTA balked, saying that it needed to focus its resources on massive repairs to the new station. But last month, MTA Interim Executive Director Tom Prendergast acknowledged that it was worth a closer look, with cost and timeframe being the key factors, and promised to move quickly.