RED HOOK — Brooklyn straphangers were thrilled to find the Smith-9th Street F/G subway station reopened Friday after two years of construction.
The station, a vital stop for Red Hook and Carroll Gardens commuters, has been closed since 2011, as a part of the $389 million project to rehabilitate the Culver Viaduct, according to a press release.
Tracy Stalling, who visits a friend in Red Hook every day from the Bronx, said her commute would be much easier now that the station had reopened. The absence of the stop added 25 minutes to her hourlong commute, she said.
“I see why they took a little while,” Stalling said of the newly renovated station.
Dion Ivey, an electrical engineer who works in Red Hook, had only heard rumors that the station might be reopening when he stepped onto the Smith-9th Street station platform Friday morning, he said.
“It’s been a little difficult for people,” Ivey said of the station’s closure, adding that he and people in his community would be happy to have the stop open again.
While the station was out of service, Ivey would take the train to 4th Avenue-9th Street, where he would transfer to the B61 bus to Red Hook, a route taken by many commuters while the station was out of service.
Looking around the open-air platform of the station, Ivey added, "It's going to be a little cold up here in the winter."
Officials said they hoped the station's reopening would bring customers back to area businesses.
Shakar Zoakari, the owner of Luncheonette, a diner directly beneath the station, said commuters would often visit his eatery while the station was open, but his business has dropped 60 percent in the last two years.
“I hope they come back,” he said.
The station was initially slated to reopen late last year but Hurricane Sandy caused delays in the construction. The “poor management” of the renovation, according to the MTA's Capital Program Oversight Committee, also postponed the opening.
“Sorry it took so long, but it’s done,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz, who gathered with fellow pols and MTA officials to officially open the station before the F train pulled up to the platform just after 11 a.m.
While the majority of the $32 million renovation of the station is done, there is still some work to do, officials said.