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The Plan to Rebuild the Port Authority Bus Terminal

Weather: Windy and mostly sunny, with a high in the mid-40s. It drops to about 30 on Saturday, and gets even more blustery. Cold and windy again on Sunday.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Feb. 11 (Lunar New Year’s Eve).


The website Failed Architecture once declared it New York City’s “most hated building.” John Oliver of “Last Week Tonight” was even more blunt, calling it “the single worst place on Planet Earth.”

That building, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, has long inspired animus among commuters for its leaky ceilings, deteriorating hallways and frustrating layout. But now, a new proposal could usher in an overhaul.

On Thursday, officials unveiled a plan that would rebuild the Midtown bus terminal and reshape the maligned facility into a 21st-century transit hub. The changes could take a decade to complete, but would transform the terminal’s longstanding reputation.

The plan would rehabilitate and enlarge the current bus terminal — the busiest in the country. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that operates the terminal, hopes that the new facility would accommodate 1,000 buses during the evening rush hour, up from about 850 today.

Many travelers complain that buses block sidewalks and impede traffic around the terminal, a problem the proposal addresses, calling for the construction of a depot near the main terminal that could handle some buses and provide storage for others.

The project has a “10-year time frame” for completion, according to Rick Cotton, the Port Authority’s executive director.

[Read more about how the proposal came together.]

The plan comes amid a steep decline in the Port Authority’s financial condition. The project could cost as much as $10 billion, but the pandemic has wiped out revenue for now.

The Port Authority is counting on federal aid, but the proposal has to pass environmental reviews before competing for that funding. The agency also plans to sell development rights and cut a deal with the city to allow developers to substitute payments toward the project for local taxes.

The plan for the terminal has been in the works for more than seven years, according to my colleagues Patrick McGeehan and Winnie Hu, who cover transportation and infrastructure.

Previous proposals have drawn the ire of community leaders at times, and the issue of funding has led to heated debates that jeopardized aims of a timely renovation.

Thursday’s announcement followed the recent opening of the Moynihan Train Hall at Pennsylvania Station, a $1.6 billion endeavor with glass skylights and soaring ceilings. Several other projects to revitalize the city’s tattered infrastructure are also in the works, including overhauls of La Guardia and Kennedy Airports.



The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

Although many performance spaces, museums and community centers are closed, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from other people.

On Friday at noon, learn about public murals in a discussion with the author Glenn Palmer-Smith and the photographer Joshua McHugh about their book, “Murals of New York City.”

Purchase a ticket ($5 for the livestream, $40 for the livestream and a copy of the book) on the event page.

The composer and pianist Emme Kemp and the visual artist Gwendolyn Black are part of a workshop on Saturday at 2 p.m. that celebrates the Black experience.

Register for the free livestream on the event page.

On Sunday at 2:30 p.m., watch a performance by Lioness, a collective of female jazz instrumentalists, as they play original compositions by members of the group. A Q. and A. follows.

R.S.V.P. for free on the event page.

It’s Friday — enjoy it.


Dear Diary:

On a warm fall evening, a friend took me to the Carroll Street Bridge in Crown Heights for the first time. Unlike its more popular cousin, which crosses the Gowanus Canal, this bridge crosses the open cut of the Franklin Avenue Shuttle.

At the center of the bridge stood a woman. Two children sat beside her in a gray, plastic wagon. After crossing, my friend and I paused to chat and admire the bridge. Curiously, the woman and children didn’t budge from their spot.

After a while, we saw a northbound shuttle rumble along the track below. As the two-car train approached the bridge, the children sitting in the wagon pumped their fists, as you would to a passing truck driver.

The motorman obliged with a honk, and the children shrieked in delight as the honking train passed below.

Silently, the woman pulled the wagon to the other side of the bridge as a southbound shuttle approached. The children repeated their gesture and were greeted by another honking train.

As the second train cleared the bridge below, the woman picked up the wagon handle and pulled the children off into the fall evening light.

— Pakdee Rojanasopondist

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