|Entering from the A/C mezzanine. A far cry from the old days.|
Of course, this place took forever to build and was perhaps not the best use of scarce transit dollars. But the MTA should not be the primary target for criticism of the decision to allocate those dollars here. As for the delays and cost overruns, the MTA was forced to preserve and restore the Corbin Building (which is beautiful) and to construct the Dey Street underground passageway to the R/PATH/Chambers Street station. Those decisions, which were completely out of MTA's hands, drove significant delays and cost overruns. In the end, they accomplished worthy goals that would not have been priorities for a transit agency: preservation of an early NYC skyscraper and a weather-proof connection to another downtown hub.
Personally, I hated the old station here with a passion. It was a depressing urine-soaked dungeon and I'm glad that we took the opportunity to turn it into a place that inspires. I don't think we give enough weight to the quality of life of people that spend a portion of every working day passing through the system. But whatever you may think of the utility of this project, life just improved immeasurably for every person who uses this station.
Second Avenue Sagas has more photos and analysis.