MTA Press Releases

Press Release
July 3, 2017
Fix&Fortify: Rebuilt South Ferry Station Reopens After Superstorm Sandy Destruction
$369 Million in Work Restores Station, Adds Upgrades to Protect Property from Future Flooding and Adds Fully ADA-Accessible Station to the Network

View video of the new South Ferry Station here


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) marked a major milestone in Sandy recovery and resiliency efforts with the re-opening yesterday of the South Ferry Terminal Complex, which was completely destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

Superstorm Sandy sent 15 million gallons of salt water into the South Ferry Terminal Complex Station in October 2012, destroying all electrical and mechanical systems and other components. Water filled the entire station from the track level to the mezzanine, eventually reaching 80 feet high. The flood waters – a mix of seawater, sewage and debris – caused extensive damage to critical equipment throughout the station, which sits a few hundred feet from New York Harbor.

“In the hours and days after the storm hit, New Yorkers were reminded just how vulnerable we are to Mother Nature and how dependent the region is on the MTA,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “That’s why our efforts to harden the system to guard against these vulnerabilities is so critical – not only for the transit network infrastructure itself, but for the regional economy and more than eight million customers who rely on us each today.” 

“Like the World Trade Center a few blocks away and the Sandy-ravaged neighborhood surrounding it, South Ferry Terminal has risen from disaster after disaster,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim.  “The new South Ferry is a beautiful, convenient station with state-of-the-art resiliency features built in to protect it from future storms, and improves service with its full-length platform and easier transfer between the 1 Subway and R SubwayW Subway lines.”

Rebuilding, Protecting Against Future Storms 

Newly added hardening measures to protect the completely overhauled South Ferry station include retractable flood doors at station entrances and 6,000-pound steel marine flood doors throughout the station, as well as hardening of other entry points for water including vents, manholes, hatches, conduits, and air ducts. 

The three street entrances were tested during Tropical Storm Hermine in September. 

Specifically, the $369 million project – opened on time and on budget – included the removal of damaged equipment and reinforced walls, as well as:

  • Replacement of track, signals and power cables. 
  •  Extensive replacement of damaged electrical equipment;
  • Replacement and upgrades to telecommunications systems;
  • Replacement of equipment in two circuit-breaker houses, fan plant, pump room;
  • Complete rebuild of seven escalators and two elevators, adding another station to list of those fully ADA-accessible.
  • Replacement of ceiling panels, wall panels and other architectural finishes;
  • Two track flood log tunnel barriers;
  • Sealed ducts, manholes, vents; Two new pumps, each capable of pumping out 1,500 gallons of water per minute, were added to the existing pump rooms at the station.
  • A total of five On-the-Go Kiosk screens and eight Help Point Intercoms were added to the station.

In addition, the air-circulation system was replaced and the station is now fully air-tempered – keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

“The newly rebuilt South Ferry Terminal has been fixed and fortified with extraordinary measures to protect the waterfront station from flooding,” said Acting New York City Transit President Darryl Irick.  “Not only has the station been restored after being destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, but it’s now better protected than ever with movable marine doors, tunnel barriers and 1,500-gallon-per-minute water pumps, among other innovative improvements.”

First Opening

In March 2009, the new $530 million South Ferry Station first opened. At that time, it was the first new subway station to open since 1989 and was financed with $420 million in federal money to assist in the economic recovery and residential development of Lower Manhattan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The new station was built with multiple exits, seven escalators, two elevators, and with easy access the street and Battery Park, and a free walking transfer to the R SubwayW Subway trains at Whitehall Street. The renovations expanded the platform to accommodate 10-car trains, which improved operations and alleviated platform crowding. The new station also included building tracks beyond the platform in order to allow trains to safely enter at higher speeds.

After Sandy, in order to provide service to customers while the station was being rebuilt, the MTA spent approximately $2 million to recommission and reopen the old South Ferry loop station in order to maintain the transfer between the 1 Subway and the R SubwayW Subway trains at Whitehall St. 


Immediately after the storm, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) created a Fix&Fortify Division with the sole focus of assessing vulnerabilities and hardening them on an ongoing basis. Federal funding for Fix&Fortify has been secured through the efforts of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, along with the entire New York State Congressional Delegation, and was provided to the MTA by the Federal Transit Administration. The program is designed to restore and rebuild damaged infrastructure while reducing the entire MTA network’s vulnerability in the event of future severe weather events.  

South Ferry, together with previously completed projects at several under river tunnels, showcase resiliency and hardening elements that have been designed and built into the system to protect it from a Category 2 storm. 

The South Ferry Station is part of the MTA’s overall resiliency plans to protect the subway system in Lower Manhattan from future storms and the MTA has allocated $5.8 billion to fortify the subway system against future weather events. 

“We are proud to work with the MTA to open the South Ferry station on time and on budget for the residents of New York. Hurricane Sandy hit the City hard, and we were able to use a new waterproofing method in South Ferry that has been so successful that it is being used on many leak mitigation projects throughout the city including the Queens Midtown Tunnel (QMT),” said Ashok Patel, the Chief Operating Officer of OHL North America and President of Judlau Contracting, Inc. “It’s a real game changer for the industry and will help prevent the devastation we saw after Sandy and are still coping with today.”

Artwork by Doug and Mike Starn

Passengers entering the station will once again be greeted with an expansive artwork by artists Doug and Mike Starn. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and first installed in 2008, "See it split, see it change" is a multi-part, site-specific installation that includes fused glass panels, mosaic marble work and stainless steel fence and encompasses the entire interior of the South Ferry Terminal concourse. The permanent artwork features a floor-to-ceiling map of the island of Manhattan in an intricate mosaic, an oversized leaf and a wall of silhouetted trees presented in an innovative fused-glass technique, whose patterns are echoed in the artist-designed, stainless-steel fence.  Coincidentally, on the mezzanine level of the station, the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy left a high water mark on the Starn brothers' mosaic map that nearly coincided with the area of Lower Manhattan that flooded. At the artists’ request during conservation, a hint of that shadowy line was left behind as a faint reminder. The artwork is part of MTA Art & Design’s Percent for Art program, one of the largest and most diverse collections of site-specific public art in the world.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said: “The South Ferry Terminal Station was ground zero for Superstorm Sandy’s destructive force which utterly gutted the station. But now – thanks to billions in aid from the federal Sandy relief bill we fought so hard to pass – the MTA has built it back with state-of-the-art resiliency and hardening elements, including flood-proof doors – so that it can once again be a thriving hub of efficient transportation for millions countless commuters from Staten Island to the Bronx and beyond.”

U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler said: "In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the extensive flooding and damage to South Ferry Terminal Station highlighted the vulnerability of our infrastructure in the face of extreme weather.  [This] marks a critical milestone in New York City Transit recovery efforts with the re-opening of the South Ferry Terminal Station.  I am proud of the historic levels of federal funding we have procured for the MTA, which has led to the rehabilitation and restoration of this station with increased flood protection, station hardening to protect replaced electrical power components, and better protect this state of the art station."

State Senator Daniel Squadron said: "[This] reopening is an important reminder of the need for comprehensive storm resiliency planning.  Hurricane Sandy had serious impacts in our transit system and this community -- recovery and planning for the future continue to be urgent goals. Thank you to the MTA, NYCT, and my colleagues."

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said: "Storm resiliency has been one of my top priorities. Throughout lower Manhattan, I've seen how our community has come together after Superstorm Sandy to rebuild and advocate for flood protections.  In the Assembly, I pushed to ensure our city could tap into resiliency resources and it is critical that we continue to mobilize to protect our neighborhoods. I thank the MTA for their contributions to these rebuilding efforts, and I look forward to seeing the South Ferry station running fully once again."