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Architect's Plan Would Extend L Train to Connect Hipster Brooklyn to UN

By Mathew Katz | January 20, 2012 7:51am
David Wright's dream plan for a crosstown L that would connect many iconic Manhattan landmarks.
David Wright's dream plan for a crosstown L that would connect many iconic Manhattan landmarks.
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David Wright

MANHATTAN — An enterprising architect has taken it upon himself to design the next great subway expansion in Manhattan — one that would connect hipster Williamsburg to the diplomats at the United Nations.

David Wright, an Astoria-based architect, dreams about more convenient subways on his blog, NY by dZine. In November, his idea to extend the L train up through Chelsea to the Hudson Yards development caused a commotion among urban planning nerds.

Now, he's gone even further, designing an intriguing fantasy plan that would link the L all the way to the United Nations — and connect Penn Station to Grand Central.

Wright's design loops the L up to the new 7 train stop at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue. From there, it goes across to Penn Station and Herald Square, before swooping up to Grand Central Terminal and the U.N.

"It seems weird at first," wrote Wright in an e-mail. "It would work really well for NYC subway riders by connecting virtually all subway lines and adding connections only makes travel easier."

The L train has seen a huge boom in ridership in recent years, including a 141 percent increase in weekend riders since 1998, according to a 2011 report.

Wright argues that the expansion would make Hudson Yards more relevant and unlock more of the West Side, which is slated for some huge development over the next few years.

Currently, there are no subway stations west of Eighth Avenue in the area — except the new 7 train stop, which is slated to open in late 2013. A station at West 41nd Street and 11th Avenue was in the original plans for the new 7 Train line, but was pulled because of funding.

"Right now we’re focused on completing three of the largest transportation projects in the world," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz after seeing the proposal. "The No. 7 line extension, Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access that will provide new transportation options to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers."

Wright himself is under no illusion. The proposed project would likely cost several billion dollars, and he acknowledges the cash-strapped MTA currently doesn't have the cash to support it.