It's a tale of two cities.

A bit of forward thinking and ingenuity is driving an emerging trend that would see derelict subway stations transformed into a restaurant or swimming pool, and pop-up stores opening in major metro hubs -- on both sides of the Atlantic.

It’s an idea born in two cities where real estate comes at a high premium: New York and Paris.

In the Big Apple, Storefront, an online marketplace that connects startups with available properties in the city, has struck a partnership with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority that will see parts of the underground metro turned into pop-up retail space for artists and designers.

And with 5.3 million subway commuters daily, that amounts to enormous foot traffic and potential retail sales.

Across the Atlantic, Parisian mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, known by her initials NKM, also has her sights on the derelict, unused metro stations of the city’s underground system and proposes bold, forward-thinking projects that would turn phantom stations into usable spaces for the public.

Artist renderings designed with the help of urban architects, for instance, show a ghost station transformed into a fine dining restaurant, an art exhibition center, theater, night club or indoor swimming pool.