Main | Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Inside The Second Avenue Subway

The New York Times reports today on the Second Avenue subway, whose excavation explosions still rattle my apartment daily after almost two years of work.
In Manhattan, where street traffic tends to stall, only one subway runs the length of the East Side. Every weekday, 1.3 million passengers — more than are carried in 24 hours by the transit systems of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco combined — cram onto the Lexington Avenue line. Yet the chaos above and below has inspired a feat: about 475 laborers are now removing 15 million cubic feet of rock and 6 million cubic feet of soil — more than half an Empire State Building by volume — out from under two miles of metropolis. In December 2016, that tunnel will make its debut as a portion of the Second Avenue subway — the great failed track New York City has been postponing, restarting, debating, financing, definancing and otherwise meaning to get in the ground since 1929.
The 6 train at rush hour really must be experienced to be believed at times. I've often wondered when the Japanese pushers will show up. The Times notes that East Siders can sign up for a Sunday tour of the caverns. I've totally got to do that. (Tipped by JMG reader Peter)

RELATED: The Second Avenue subway and the Long Island Rail Road extension to Grand Central are the two largest ongoing public works projects in the nation. And they're both on the East Side.

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