Have you ever been standing on a subway platform, sweaty and disheveled and stressed because the train isn’t coming for another fourteen minutes and wished you could just dash upstairs and buy a fresh new shirt to change into? No? Well, at least you’ll have that option soon: The MTA is taking steps to install a bunch of stores inside the Columbus Circle subway concourse. They’ve been talking about this for years — they even built the station so that it has the capacity for 11,500 square feet of retail space, or about thirteen stores — but now they’ve started taking bids from private-sector real estate firms who would sublet to retailers, according to transportation blog Second Avenue Sagas. Meanwhile, the Fulton Street Transit Center, which is projected to open in January 2014, will offer similar shopping venues.
The whole idea seems like a win for everybody: The MTA makes money off their real estate, the stores sell things, and New Yorkers can shop during their commute. But whether people actually will stop to buy things in subway stations — besides emergency late-night snacks to consume messily on a drunken train ride home, of course — remains to be seen.