By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Seven months after the MTA unveiled the fancy new 96th Street subway stop with a grand opening ceremony, straphangers are still waiting for the station's elevators to open.
But officials say the wait will be over this week.
A three-year $65 million renovation created a futuristic station complete with multi-colored stone walkways, gleaming benches and public art, but the elevators remain blocked by plywood.
The elevators should be ready to use on Tuesday, said MTA spokeswoman Deidre Parker.
"The elevators are ready to go, but there were some small things that needed checking (Monday)," Parker said in an e-mail. "So, it looks like (Tuesday) the elevators should begin operating."
That's welcome news for seniors, the disabled and stroller-pushing moms who've been forced to use the stairs for the past several months.
"It's a big pain in the neck," said mom Audrey Baker shortly after hauling a stroller and her two-and-a-half-year-old son Dario down the stairs to the downtown 1, 2 and 3 train platform.
When Baker is with her other child, an infant, she sometimes gets off at the 72nd Street station, which has functioning elevators, and walks home to her building a couple of blocks from 96th Street.
The MTA held a ceremony in April to open the new 96th Street station. Constrution wasn't completely finished then, but officials said the station would be completely up and running by September.
"I wish it was working," said nanny Mary Marcha, who said she lugs a stroller up and down the station's stairs four times a day. "It would be easier for me."