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New York finds a lotta love for new train line stops
[NEW YORK] Sure, they can be brusque at times. But New Yorkers' hearts nearly melted Sunday when they got a load of the biggest subway line expansion in 50 years.
"It's beautiful, it's clean, it's bright. And so far, nobody has seen any rats on the tracks!" quipped Jay Lerman, a skin doctor.
"When they talked about it in the 50s they talked about US$500 million. Now, it's 60 years on and US$4 billion later. But it's here!" said the neighbourhood resident, referring to the US$4.4 billion pricetag.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo were there for the opening late Saturday of three new stations that extend the Second Avenue subway train from 63rd to 96th Streets up to the posh Upper East Side.
At midday Sunday, the smartphone-wielding general public rushed in to get a look.
And it was a sight to behold, in a city with an older system known for its share of darkness and rodents in the track beds.
"We have been talking about the opening of the stations the way we were talking about the coming of the Messiah - whichever comes first!" laughed retired attorney Ken Klein.
"It has been a difficult 2016 for New Yorkers and it's a nice start to 2017," he said referring to the election of President-elect Donald Trump, a New Yorker.
For Tyler Robbins, "it looks like Paris!"
"They did a beautiful job," raved the young father who was bringing his 10-month-old on the train for the first time. He said he previously had avoided the subway due to not enough elevators and filth.
Angel Aviles, a comic book artist, was also impressed, after construction jolted his apartment for ages.
"Now the rumble will be from the trains. And it's more comforting than a dynamite sound!" he said.
"It's nice to see that New York is starting to catch up" with European cities, Mr Aviles added.
The walls of the stations have mosaics including some designed by artists Chuck Close and Brazil's Vik Muniz.
The extension is just a big start: the line is set to be extended up to Harlem for another US$6 billion.
New York authorities hope it will speed commute times and reduce overcrowding.