Lower Manhattan's upgraded South Ferry subway station, which closed for four years after being devastated by Hurricane Sandy, finally reopened at noon on Tuesday.

The MTA spent $369 million to upgrade the station to be ready for future storms. The new (formerly old) MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said, "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. 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 8 million customers who rely on us each today."

Consultant and transit buff Dustin Tyler Joyce took a spin through the reopened station yesterday and blogged about it:

The reconstructed station is largely the same as the one that was destroyed in 2012. There are a few subtle changes here and there. Perhaps the most apparent are the station name signs emblazoned on the station’s walls, which are bigger than they used to be, reflecting the lettering and sizing on other new stations in the subway system.1 Additional changes include slightly different lighting fixtures and differences in signage throughout the station. There are no longer square black signs that read “South Ferry” on columns, and wayfinding signage, which formerly was found over the platform so it could be seen by passengers as they exited trains, is now found at the platform level only above stairs and escalators.

But the biggest change to the station is on the surface. As part of an effort not only to repair and restore the South Ferry station but to make it resilient against future storms, surface entrances to the station can now be sealed off to protect the station against floodwaters. The new entrances are perhaps a bit less aesthetically pleasing than the delicate glass awnings of their 2009 predecessors, but clearly something a bit sturdier is needed to keep out 50 million liters of water.

Nearly fifteen million gallons of salt water flooded the station, which had only opened three years prior, in 2009. It was the first new subway station to open in two decades, and its initial price tag was $545 million.

With the new station knocked out of commission, the MTA re-opened the old, tiny South Ferry station in 2013. The old station, which only can service the first few cars of the train (which is why you hear conductors urging anyone getting out at South Ferry to go to the front of the train, will go back into retirement. NY1 looked at the "quirky remnant of the original subway system" today:

The platform can only accommodate half of a modern 10-car train. So no more walking toward the front of the train at the Rector Street stop just before South Ferry.

"If you have to make the switch, it's horrible," said one commuter. Miss that, and suddenly a downtown train turns into one heading uptown.

"It's annoying, though," said one commuter. "Sometimes, I'll forget, or some people forget, or some people don't listen." The old station is one of only three in the system with moving platforms, and it's never had Wi-Fi.