The Second Avenue Subway
In late 2007, I took an opportunity to take some photos of Second Avenue prior to the opening of Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway. The construction involved the demolition of some buildings to make room for station entrances, and it inevitably increased the value of the land for development, leaving these photos as documentation of a set of charming late 19th- and early 20th-century buildings that would be replaced with soulless glass towers.
The Second Avenue Subway was originally proposed in 1929 as part of an expansion of the Independent Subway System. Over the next 76 years, the the plans were derailed first by the Great Depression and WW-II, then by a diversion of funds in the 1950's and 1960's to maintain other parts of the subway, then by the city's decline and insolvency in the 1970s. Finally, with the passage in 2005 of the Transportation Bond Act and the addition of $1.3 billion in Federal funds in 2007, work finally began again.
The construction plan has four phases. Phase I is an extension of the Q train north from 63rd Street to 96th Street. Phase II will be partially built with tunnels dug in the 1970s to extend the line to a northern terminus at 125th street, connecting with the 4/5/6 IRT line. Phase III will create the T line from 63rd Street down to Houston Street. Phase IV will complete the line with a final southern extension down to Hanover Square in lower Manhattan. There are no funding committments past Phase I, although if everything works out right (and it probably won't) the entire line could be complete by 2020.
At the time I first visited in December of 2007, work had already begun on rerouting utility lines in preparation for station construction and insertion of the boring machine that will create the tunnel down to 63rd St.
(Official MTA 2nd Avenue Subway Construction Info Page)
Next: South Ferry Station