Yesterday, the MTA offered a first look at the new $530-million South Ferry subway terminal. The project, the bulk ($420 million) funded by the feds, is an definite upgrade. Second Ave. Sagas went on the tour and reports:

The current station at South Ferry is more than a bit decrepit. It’s a tiny station with room for five cars, and since it’s on a steep curve, it employs movable platforms. Somehow, it also serves six million passengers a year bound for Staten Island, Lady Liberty and all points in between...

So what can you get for $527 million these days? Well, for starters, we get 1800 feet of total construction. Of that, 1200 of those feet are a part of a brand new tunnel with the remainder serving as the station.

Instead of just one track, we now have two ten-car tracks. The station will serve as a bona fide terminal. As such, according to the MTA, the potential capacity along the 1 line will increase from around 17 trains an hour to up to 24, and the easing of the Lower Manhattan bottleneck could shave six minutes off of a trip from 242nd St. to South Ferry. The station is also equipped with signals ready for computer-based train control, if and when the MTA gets that program off the drawing board and into the tunnels.

This also means the platform is full-length—no more rushing to the front of the car to leave. There's also "tempered air" (air-circulation!), loads of security cameras and a gorgeous mosaic map of Manhattan. MTA Capital Construction executive Uday Dorg mentioned the rubber panels under the rail ties that will absorb noise, "You don't get the same screeching noise when the train pulls into the station." And the Daily News also noted MTA Capital Construction president Michael Horodniceanu's proud proclamation, "It's a real 21st Century station."

The Advance says the old station will become train storage for "two or three extra trains on hand for rush hours." And the NY Times found the station a little sterile and clinical, what with the gleaming white tile, but maybe that's because it's...clean.