It is a sign of the dysfunction of our public life that the opening of a new subway station is cause for celebration.
Yet it is, and the new 7 train station at Hudson Yards is indeed a wonder. The station, the first new stop in the system in two decades, features impressive public art, an elevator that (for now) works, and heating and cooling systems that will keep commuters cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In short, it has everything that the rest of the world has come to expect in a working subway system, but that New Yorkers, beaten down by decades of infrastructure neglect, see as something just short of a miracle. Should this be so in the richest city on earth?
Even the weekend opening of the new station carried with it some of the petty squabbling that has made such projects a rarity. The mayor and the MTA bickered over funding issues. Former mayor Bloomberg - a champion for the station -- was a no-show. Cynics predicted that the temperature-controlled platform would be a winter haven for homeless people. And everyone pointed out that the $2.4 billion project, as glorious as it is, opened its doors a year and a half late.
But for now, let’s celebrate the 7 station -- and the even-more impressive Fulton station in lower Manhattan -- as steps in the right direction. And recognize that our public spaces, and public transit, define who we are as a city.