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 Subway Fantastic


The new $750 million Fulton Transit Center will feature a 110-foot-high glass-and-steel dome that will allow sunlight to filter into what is now a dingy, maze-like subway complex, according to plans unveiled yesterday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority hub, at Broadway and Fulton St., also would preserve the 115-year-old Corbin Building and use its arches as another entrance point.

And it would untangle the confusing and crowded warren of corridors now leading to nine subway lines, officials said.

"It's just beautiful and it works well," MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow said of the plans. "We're very proud of it and I think all New Yorkers will be proud. It will be a great addition downtown."

The complex - a combination of several separate stations built between 1905 and 1932 - is the busiest in lower Manhattan. The planned changes will benefit 300,000 daily commuters, officials said.

Bordered by Broadway, Fulton, John and Nassau Sts., a new above-ground entrance hall will take the form of a 50-foot-high glass box topped by the dome, designed to be a beacon for travelers.

Rick Bell, executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, said the light-infused station will bring back a "sense of romance" to travel, even to "something as mundane as going to work everyday. It's a very poetic building."

He described commuters walking through the station in early-morning sunlight and seeing the stars above them on their way home at night.

There would be two levels of retail inside, one on a balcony above street level. Commuters would take escalators down to the wide-open concourse and then have access, some by well-marked routes via escalators and stairways, to nine lines: 2,3,4,5,A,C,J,M and Z.

A 400-foot underground passageway would stretch west under Dey St. to the PATH trains at the World Trade Center hub, as well as W,R,E,1 and 9 subway lines.

The plans were unveiled at the Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place and will be available for public viewing through mid-July.

Construction is slated to begin at the end of the year with the project to be completed toward the end of 2007. Train service will continue during the work, though several buildings will have to be acquired and demolished for the project.

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