The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway finally opened on 1/1/2017. After some previews for press and invited guests, including a New Year's Eve party, the first three stations, at 96th Street, 86th Street, and 72nd Street opened for service at 12:00 noon on New Year's Day. Lots of press coverage is available online; the New York Times covered the opening and the first business day's operations. Thanks to Aahd Tahar for updating our route map.
The New York Times profiles author Philip Ashforth Coppola and his Silver Connections book series in this article, One Man’s Opus to New York’s Subway Art, Decades in the Making. Philip has been painstakingly sketching the tile artwork and other station decoration of New York's subway since 1978. I was unaware of this until now, but Philip used my photo of 18th Street on the original IRT to do the corresponding sketches, as he had never been in this abandoned station. Awesome! :-)
An annual Sunday holiday season tradition returns: original IND subway cars from the 1930s will run in service on part of the E and F lines between Queens Plaza and 2nd Avenue every Sunday from November 30 through December 28. The wicker seats! The ceiling fans! The groaning prewar traction motors! The smell of steel dust! The bewildered passengers! In addition, five retired buses manufactured from the 1950s through 1970s will run weekdays on the 42nd Street crosstown route. MTA Press Release here. Edited to add: Departure time schedule (subject to change/modification): Leaving 2nd Ave northbound to Queens Plaza: 10:05, 11:33, 1:03, 2:33, 4:03. Leaving Queens Plaza southbound to 2nd Ave: 10:44, 12:14, 1:44, 3:14, 4:44.