VIRTUAL TOUR:
West Side Light Rail Easement

West 66th to West 72nd Streets

As a concession to the community, Trump/New World's massive Riverside South development on the former New York Central yard on the Upper West Side of Manhattan includes an easement adjacent to Amtrak's Empire Corridor, which runs beneath the buildings, for a future light rail use. My personal opinion is that it will never amount to anything more than a service road for Amtrak personnel, but in the meantime, put on your hard hat and work boots and enjoy this tour of what is essentially New York City's newest disused subway line.
We enter beneath the unfinished West 66th Street bridge, where 120 Riverside Boulevard will begin to rise in the Spring of 2003. Between 66th and 67th Streets is 140 Riverside, still under construction; the line has yet to be cleared of debris.
Looking north from West 67th Street. To our left is the parking garage beneath 140 & 160 Riverside Boulevard.
Continuing on... here, we're looking north from beneath the West 68th Street bridge.
Looking north from West 69th Street. More parking garage slabs & ramps are visible to the left; the door in the crash wall at right leads to the Amtrak Empire Corridor.
Arrival at West 70th Street
The only potential station provision thus far is beneath the intersection of Riverside Boulevard and West 70th Street. Unlike the bridges at 66th and 68th Streets, which have solid concrete abutments, and 67th and 69th Streets, which aren't streets at all but public access easements over underground parking garages, there is a large open area beneath the bridge structure at West 70th Street. As the ROW is too narrow for platforms anywhere between 66th and 70th, this seems like the logical place for a station, or possibly even the northern terminus of the line. As we'll see a little later, there are also stairway provisions at street level here.
180 panoramic view of station area under West 70th Street and Riverside Boulevard, looking west
Looking east into station area from Riverside Park
It's easy to envision the line turning west into a two or three track terminal here, although the easement continues on to West 72nd Street, under 220 and 240 Riverside Boulevard.
This is as far as we can go. Staging blocks the ROW between 70th and 71st Streets as crews put the finishing touches on 220 Riverside. The light at the end of the tunnel is only temporary; foundation work for 240 Riverside Boulevard, between 71st and 72nd Streets, has already begun.
Heading back, we pass West 69th Street. Take a peek through the access door at the Empire Corridor. Just don't stick your head in; seconds later, a Genesis engine comes whizzing by.
Between 68th and 67th Streets, looking south
Emerging back into daylight and finding our way back to the surface, we can see what the future West 70th Street station looks like from the street.
Looking north from Riverside Boulevard and West 70th Street. The front of 200 Riverside Boulevard is set back somewhat from the property line, a possible indication of a future station entrance.
On the West 70th Street side, this notch in 200 Riverside suggests a future staircase or escalator location.
Our tour concludes at the northern end of the Trump/New World site, where the construction of 240 Riverside Boulevard has just begun.
The foundation of 240 Riverside, from the West 71st Street bridge. The Amtrak Empire Corrior is beneath the floor slab being poured; the light rail easement remains exposed between two crash walls. In the background is the West 72nd Street offramp from the West Side Highway, slated for closure when this block of Riverside Boulevard is complete.
Thanks for joining me on this virtual tour; I hope you enjoyed yourselves! Comments? Questions? Gripes? Send an e-mail to ripta42@hopetunnel.org
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