When it comes to transportation options, it's hard to beat New York City, which is one of the most connected cities on the planet. Unless you're in town for a convention, that is, in which case you'll likely be hunkered down at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center -- a mass-transit desert in a city that's otherwise lush with conveyances.
Indeed, anyone who has ever attended an event at the Javits Center knows that one of the biggest challenges is getting to and from the facility. The closest hotels are a 15- to 20-minute walk away and an event shuttle bus or taxi can take up to 30 minutes fighting traffic from the nearby Lincoln Tunnel.
So the story used to go. The narrative finally changed yesterday, however, when New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) opened a new subway station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, just a short stroll from Javits Center. The new "34 St-Hudson Yards" station, on MTA's 7 Line, is the first addition to New York's subway system in 26 years and is Manhattan's only subway station west of Ninth Avenue.
The 7 train line previously ended at Times Square but now extends an additional 1.5 miles, terminating in a gleaming new facility that features the subway system's longest escalator and its first inclined elevator. (The video below shows the new station and how close it is to the Javits Center.) The station also is air-tempered -- it will maintain a year-round temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Farenheit -- and eventually will offer cellphone connectivity and Wi-Fi, as well.
Although the project took eight years and had a price tag of $2.42 billion, for convention-goers it was worth the wait and expense: The travel time from Times Square hotels has now dropped to a little over five minutes.
But more than that, the opening of the new subway station is a "pivotal moment" for convention-goers and the neighborhood as a whole, says Fred Dixon, president and CEO, of NYC & Company, the city's convention and visitors bureau. The huge Hudson Yards development is in the process of transforming the railroad yards that used to be the Javitz Center's neighbor with a hotel, millions of square feet of office space and thousands of apartments, as well as plenty of high-end retail, dining, and entertainment facilities, an arts complex and a 16-acre public park. The changes are making the neighborhood "a must-visit destination now and in years to come," Dixon adds.
"This station is the centerpiece of an ambitious plan to make the far West Side of Manhattan a top-tier destination for residents and visitors alike while meeting the daily needs of millions of subway riders, and one that is poised to meet future needs," New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "It is a clear example of how the city and state can work together to support a transit network that drives our regional economy."