After almost 98 years in the making, New York’s Second Avenue Subway has finally opened, which will make getting to and from the Upper East Side a little easier. Originally announced and proposed in 1918 the contentious subway line has had more than its fair share of false starts over the better part of the last century.
The initial 1918 requirements for the proposed 2nd Ave subway, line that would run parallel to the existing line running underneath Lexington Ave, were called for due to the overcrowding problems that were already being experienced on Lexington Ave line. The first attempt at getting the project off the ground came to a dramatic halt in 1929 with the onset of the great depression.
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This run of bad luck continued for years to come as setback after set back turned the project into a running joke for residents of the Upper East Side where the running joke was that they wouldn’t see it in their lifetimes.
Work did originally commence in 1972 however again ground to halt when funds dried up and the work sat dormant for another 30+ years. Finally in early 2006 the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) gave approval for 3 new stations to be built on 72nd, 86th & 96th Streets as well as an upgrade to the F train station at Lexington Ave and 53rd Street.
While the work over the next 10 years cause concerns for local residents and businesses, with many unable to withstand the disruption to their business and forced to cease their operations, January 2017 heralded in a new era for the troubled MTA network in New York with the new line finally opening on January 1st.
One of the biggest reasons for celebrations of local residents was that they were able to access brand new station facilities which were the envy of other riders across that network. The presence of artwork, brand new shops and concessions and the lack of rubbish and rats provided first time riders and visitors the chance to experience something very different on the New York subway.
While stages 2 – 4 of the 2nd Avenue Subway line project are still to be finalised, specifically the financing of the project, New Yorkers can enjoy an easier way to access parts of the Upper West Side that were previously solely accessible by bus, taxi, bicycles and on foot.
While the new line itself won’t make a huge difference for Australians visiting New York in its own right, what it will do is provide locals better access during peak hours to the mainly residential neighbourhood. It will mean that tourists using the existing 4, 5 & 6 Green lines which run through the UES should experience less passengers during the busy morning and evening commutes.
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It will also make it slightly easier to get to some of the hotels and apartments (if using AirBnB for your stay) that are located on the Eastern edges of the Upper East Side.