DIC 12 2014   l   l   Alex Davies
Photos: See the Progress on NYC’s Long-Awaited 2nd Avenue Subway

1/10 The first phase of NYC's Second Avenue Subway line is scheduled to open in 2016. 2/10 It's the biggest expansion of the city's subway system in generations. 3/10 Last month, workers finished blasting work for Phase 1, which will run from 57th Street to 96th Street. 4/10 This is the site of a new station at 86th Street and Second Ave. 5/10 The new stations will be climate controlled, which is a big deal—temperatures on NYC subway platforms have been clocked at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 6/10 When the new line does open, it should ease crowding on the 4, 5, and 6 lines that now serve Manhattan's East Side. 7/10 And it will be easier to get around on the East Side in general. 8/10 The MTA expects the line to serve 200,000 daily riders when it opens. 9/10 But there's plenty of work left to do, including laying tracks. 10/10 And turning newly created caverns into something people will recognize at tunnels and stations.

For New Yorkers, the Second Avenue Subway is something of a punchline, an accepted local synonym for “when pigs fly.” It’s easy to see why: City officials have been talking about a second line on Manhattan’s East Side since the 1920s, and the construction has been delayed so many times that former man-in-charge Michael Bloomberg says he’s got a 50-50 shot at living to see it open (he’s 72).

The line eventually will run 8.5 miles under Second Avenue from Harlem to the Financial District. New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the first phase, from 57th Street to 96th Street, will open in 2016, after nine years and some $4.45 billion. Still, it’s easy to be skeptical of either one of those numbers, even if you aren’t a jaded and cynical New Yorker.

But for the workers who spend their days digging, blasting, and building, the project is real. And progress is being made. To prove it, the MTA has published a fresh set of photos showing off what’s happening under the island’s mica schist bedrock. So take a look at a project that’s literally decades in the making.


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