Home View from Underground Second Ave. Sagas top ten of 2009

Second Ave. Sagas top ten of 2009

by Benjamin Kabak

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year, but what a year it’s been. As 2009 draws to a close, I want to take a minute to reflect on the site. I’ve had more far more visitors this year than I did last, and many of you have stopped to leave a comment. From fare hikes to service cuts to progress along Second Ave., we’ve covered it all this year.

So as the year ends, I’d like to repeat my final post from 2008. Last year, I looked at the ten most popular posts from the previous year, and right now, I’m going to do the same. Although budget talks and funding solutions dominating the conversation, the most popular posts usually are a surprise.

1. The graffiti debate: Glorifying art or vandalism?
Two decades ago, the subways were covered in graffiti, and then the City and MTA decided to attack the art. Now, the subway is clean, but those graffiti artists feel slighted. As galleries begin to reminisce on the era of graffiti, we examined whether we should classify graffiti as misunderstood art or vandalism. The debate still goes on today.

2. Yankee Stadium Metro-North stop ready to go
As the Yankees went on their World Series run, the MTA opened a new Metro-North stop a few blocks away from the team’s new home. Jorge Posada, David Cone and Brian Cashman were on hand to lead reporters through the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The station was a success in its first season.

3. Wearing the Vignelli subway map
Something Vignelli seems to make the Top Ten every year, and the 2009 entry is a post I wrote about a dress for sale that featured the Vignelli map. The item is now unavailable, but it cost $249 at the time. Any subway buff worth their stripes would now own this one. I have yet to see anyone wear it though.

4. Foreshadowing a Second Ave. demise
As the MTA’s fiscal crisis robbed the agency of its operating budget, I wondered if the eventual lack of investment in transit would lead to the end of the Second Ave. subway work as well. For now, Phase I construction seems safe, but anything beyond that is a crap shoot.

5. Mythbusting the MTA fare hike
Friend-of-SAS and On Transport writer Chris O’Leary guest posted his FAQ about the fare hike. As the MTA has descended into fiscal chaos, misinformation about the authority reigns supreme, and few news agencies are willing to set the record straight. His post is as relevant today as it was in March.

6. Inside the Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette Construction
In November 2011, Transit will finish up the project designed to connect the uptown 6 platform to the rest of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette station. In the meantime, I explore the ongoing work and what it means for commuters who use the 6 and the B/D/F/V stop in the area.

7. When it was a train: the H
Every now and then, some train’s rollsign is set to the wrong line, and New Yorkers wonder what that relic of another era was. We’ve seen a 13 train on the 1 line, and for the this post, we explored what the H — the old designation for the Rockaway Shuttle — was doing on an A train.

8. At 7 extension groundbreaking, Bloomberg slams SAS
As the MTA began to prepare for the TBM drops at the 7 line extension, Mayor Bloomberg took the time to criticize the Second Ave. Subway. He claimed that the new, badly needed line on the Upper East Side was destroying business but declined to mention why investing $2.1 billion into the 7 line expansion was a good idea.

9. Nostalgia Train to run December Sundays
Everyone loves the Nostalgia Train, and it ran this year in Sundays in December. Transit continued this festive holiday tradition despite a mid-month snow storm that shelved the old vintage cars for a weekend.

10. To save money, MTA may axe student MetroCards
We first heard of the MTA’s plan to save $170 million through student MetroCard cuts a few weeks ago. Although students are protesting the cuts and politicians do not look favorably upon them, no one has offered up a reason why the MTA should foot the bill for student transit costs.

* * *

And that’s the year that was in Second Ave. Sagas. I’ll be back tomorrow with the weekend service advisories. Remember: Transit running extra service after the ball drops tonight, but trains run on a Sunday schedule on New Years day. Have a safe and happy New Year.

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R2 December 31, 2009 - 12:59 pm

Happy New Year Ben!

It’s been a banner year for your blog. Here’s to continued success going forward.


Marsha January 2, 2010 - 6:00 pm

What R2 said.

Sarah January 2, 2010 - 9:02 pm

When is the book coming out, Ben? Either “The Life and Times of the NYC Subway” or “Subway riding for dummies” (a great gift for first time New Yorkers).


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