Subway station is better than no subway station. That's the lesson we're taking from the NY Sun's story about surging subway ridership at some unlikely stations. The fast growing station? The J/M/Z station at Bowery and Delancey, which now has 1,771 people entering the station daily, versus 308 in 1995. The station's growth seems to be a reflection of the intense Lower East Side development.

The second fastest growing station is Beach 98th Street on the A in the Rockaways (lots of new beachfront development happening there), and another fast growing station is the Bronx's Park East 2 and 5 station. City Council member James Sanders tells the Sun, "These days, there is no cold community. Every place is hot."

2007_01_7ext.JPGAnd that's especially true to residents of Hell's Kitchen. They are holding a press conference today to demand that the MTA build a 7 train station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street as part of the big 7 line extension plans. A 41st Street station was planned, but then dropped due to costs, and the MTA said a "shell" station would be built, in case money magically appeared in the future. Hell's Kitchen residents know shell games when they see them and even MTA board member Andrew Albert says, "Do it as you build the line or it will never get done otherwise."

Right now, the 7 line would extend from 42nd Street and make one stop at 34th Street and 10th Avenue. We can understand why Hell's Kitchen residents are upset, because it is pretty insulting that the MTA can't build a station when they're going to be drilling away anyway. And the Copacabana is being kicked out of their 34th Street space because the MTA needs to make way for the 7 extension. (The Copa says it will reopen.)

What are some stations that have become incredibly crowded recently? And when the MTA figures out how to connect the subway to Staten Island, we predict that will be the hottest new neighborhood.

Photograph of subway riders by shveckle on Flickr