By Philip Newman
After nearly two years of delays, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced that the No.7 subway line will finally make its inaugural run all the way from Main Street in Flushing to 11th Avenue on Manhattan’s far west side.
The MTA said the ceremonial occasion for the $2.4 billion extension would take place at the new subway station at 34th Street-Hudson Yards and 11th Avenue at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.
MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, along with elected officials, will celebrate the occasion, then ride a special train only as far as Times Square.
Immediately afterward, the first regular No.7 will leave the new station on its run to Queens.
The No.7 extension will bring straphangers 1.5 miles beyond its original end of the line at Times Square.
The project was financed by the City of New York in a project that began during the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The line’s new farthest west station is in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, which is now a busy scene of construction with such projects as the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in an area that was the largest undeveloped space left in Manhattan.
Many problems held up the completion date, including the diagonal elevators that were custom made by Maspero Elevatori in Italy. The elevators failed their first tests.
The project first included a second station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street but that was abandoned as it was too expensive.
This will be the second milestone ceremony for the project. Bloomberg took a ride to what would be the No.7’s new west side terminus on Dec. 20, 2013 at a time when the completion of the project was thought to be close at hand. However, a series of delays followed.
The station will provide access to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, High Line and Hudson River Park.
The MTA estimates that the station will be used by a daily peak of around 35,000 straphangers per hour, It is only one of several major MTA projects going on now, including the Second Avenue subway and the East Side Access, which will bring the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal.