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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last week unveiled the new 96th Street Station in advance of the Second Avenue Subway's opening.At public events held Dec. 22 and 23, Cuomo invited locals to preview the station, which features high ceilings and a column-free design, according to a press release issued by the governor's office.Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) staff were on hand to answer questions and distribute maps and commemorative items.Running from 96th Street to 63rd Street in Manhattan, the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway is slated to open Jan. 1. The new 96th Street Station's features include access for people with disabilities, climate control and modern computerized signage. The station, which spans three city blocks, is based on a two-tiered mezzanine design, which is aimed at improving the flow of riders and reducing crowding."With unparalleled architecture and newly installed artwork along the Second Avenue line, we are transforming these stations into underground galleries that encompass the spirit and cultural charm of New York," Cuomo said.Meanwhile, MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) installed more than 12,600 new in-car subway maps and about 1,000 large station maps featuring the new Second Avenue Subway line.NYCT plans to distribute 1 million new folding pocket maps throughout its subway system. Maps also will be installed at major hubs throughout MTA Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road territory. The Second Avenue Subway's initial phase represents a "significant expansion" of New York City's subway system and was more than 50 years in the making, Cuomo said.The line also is expected to reduce crowding on the Lexington Avenue subway line, NYCT officials said. Q trains will run on the Second Avenue Subway line.