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The Second Avenue Subway

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title_ny_2ndavesubway.jpg

Platform level of the 72nd Street/2nd Avenue station on opening day, January 1, 2017. Photo by David Pirmann.

Overview

The Second Avenue subway has been in various stages of planning, funding, and construction since the 1920s. For various reasons, including the Great Depression, World War II, and the 1970s city fiscal crisis, only small portions were constructed. Work on the line restarted in 2007, with a ceremonial ground-breaking on April 12, 2007. Finally, on January 1, 2017, the first phase of the line finally opened to passengers. This "Phase I" consists of three new stations, at 96th Street, 86th Street, and 72nd Street; two deep-bore tunnels of about two miles each; and renovations and expansion of the existing station at Lexington Avenue-63rd Street.

Opening/Closing Dates

StationOpenedClosed
125th StreetPhase II-TBD
116th StreetPhase II-TBD
106th StreetPhase II-TBD
96th Street1/1/2017
86th Street1/1/2017
72nd Street1/1/2017
Lexington Ave-63rd Street (North Side)1/1/2017
55th StreetPhase III-TBD
42nd StreetPhase III-TBD
34th StreetPhase III-TBD
23rd StreetPhase III-TBD
14th StreetPhase III-TBD
Houston StreetPhase III-TBD
Grand StreetPhase IV-TBD
Chatham SquarePhase IV-TBD
South Street SeaportPhase IV-TBD
Hanover SquarePhase IV-TBD


Route Map

</svg>Future Phase II Stations
</svg>
96th Street
</svg>
86th Street
</svg>
72nd Street
</svg>
Lexington Avenue-63rd StreetF
</svg>
</svg>BMT Broadway Line

Track Maps

Station By Station

96th Street

Q


Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld

Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
More Images: 1-30

Artwork Blueprint for a Landscape, Sarah Sze, 2016


86th Street

Q


Photo by: David Pirmann

Photo by: Nicholas Noel
More Images: 1-39

Artwork Subway Portraits, Chuck Close, 2016


72nd Street

Q


Photo by: Brian Weinberg

Photo by: Robbie Rosenfeld
More Images: 1-50 51-59

Artwork Perfect Strangers, Vik Muniz, 2016


Future Stations

This section will contain news and notes about future sections of the Second Avenue Subway.

125th Street

125th Street - Conceptual Cross Section. Source: Second Avenue Subway, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1, March 2003, MTA New York City Transit. Figure 2-8.

Grand Street

Grand Street - Shallow Level (Island Platform) Chrystie Street Option. Source: Second Avenue Subway, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1, March 2003, MTA New York City Transit. Figure S-3.
Grand Street - Deep Level Chrystie Street Option. Source: Second Avenue Subway, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1, March 2003, MTA New York City Transit. Figure S-4.
Grand Street - Forsyth Street Option. Source: Second Avenue Subway, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1, March 2003, MTA New York City Transit. Figure S-5.

Historical Documents

We have a collection of documents pertaining to the 1970s attempt at constructing the Second Avenue Subway.

Completed Portions (1970s)

Construction contracts were let about 1974 for four sections, but the city budget crisis prevented further work. The contracts begun were completed and so these four bits have been completed:

  • Chinatown, near the Manhattan Bridge: From the east side of the Bowery along Division Street, to Chrystie Street. Passes in front of Confucius Plaza (apartment tower), P.S. 124, under private property (notice a ventilation structure aboveground), and then under Manhattan Bridge plaza to near the north side of the plaza, ending a bit short of the Chrystie St line. (This is a short distance, about 2 blocks total.) The structure underpins the subway coming off of the Manhattan Bridge (the existing "Canal Street Bridge Line" and the former connection to the Nassau Street loop). North of here, contract drawings indicate that the tunnel would continue to come into Grand St. station on either side of the existing route, offering cross-platform transfers. It is unknown whether the Chrystie Street construction included the 2nd Avenue tunnels which would run along Chrystie St. north and south of Grand Street for a few blocks. (See the Proposed Track Map, 2nd Avenue Subway, 1970s for the Grand Street track connections.) South of here, the likely route would be St. James Place, Pearl Street, Water Street to Whitehall Street terminal; or a connection to the unused Manhattan Bridge approach from Nassau Street (which would provde a lower Manhattan terminal without any lower Manhattan construction).
  • Second Ave, from 2nd St to 9th St, 2 trackways. Rumors about this particular section claim alternatively that this section was filled back in after excavation; or that it wasn't excavated at all and that the only work actually performed was limited to utility relocation in the area.
  • Second Ave, from 99th St to 105th St, 2 trackways.
  • Second Ave, from 110th St to 119th St, 2 trackways.
  • In addition to those four contracts, bellmouths for the connections at 63rd Street were incorporated into the construction of the 63rd Street Tunnel Proposed Track Map, 2nd Avenue Subway, 1970s. It is unknown how much was actually built, but the bellmouths are clearly visible from trains passing through the 63rd Street Tunnel.

None of these sections included the stations, which were to be located near these segments at 96th-99th St., 105th St., and 125th St. In 2003, the MTA resumed planning and environmental analysis for a full-length Second Avenue Subway, from 125th Street to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.

Further Reading

Second Avenue Subway, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 1, March 2003, MTA New York City Transit. (a.k.a. Second Avenue Subway in the Borough of Manhattan, New York County)

Second Avenue Subway, Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2 (Appendices), March 2003, MTA New York City Transit. (a.k.a. Second Avenue Subway in the Borough of Manhattan, New York County)









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