The South Ferry subway station sustained some of the worst damage from Hurricane Sandy.

A damaged bench.

Note the caved in ceiling.

More ceiling damage.

That wall used to be covered with tiles.

An example of subway signaling components that were damaged as a result of flooding during Hurricane Sandy.

A damaged signalling component next to a new one. That’s some serious corrosion.

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The Ruined Stations Of New York's Subways

The damage done by a few million gallons of Sandy storm surge is way worse than you would imagine.

We’ve shown you the insane floodwaters that filled New York’s public transit system, as well as the ongoing heroic effort to get them back up to speed. But what, exactly, does a few million gallons of salt water do to a major piece of urban infrastructure? Really bad things.

If you thought the damage to the subways involved just a mere inconvenience to millions of New Yorkers—and, rightfully, an inconvenience that is pretty low on the global scale of inconveniences—and that a city can survive for a few days while its workers pump out the tunnels, take a look at these pictures and think again.

Most of these photos are from the South Ferry station, located—as the name suggests—very close to the water. But the damage that saltwater can cause is immense. If this happens again (and it will) the solution can’t simply be a fast response—the power of nature is too great. If you need to make a case for planning for further storms and designing subways that can take an immersion in flood waters, the crumbling walls of these stations should be enough.

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