When last I had the opportunity to venture underground at Second Ave., in April of 2011, the future subway looked something like this. ADI, the tunnel boring machine, had completed her runs, but with December 2016 at the time over five years away, a new subway line was only vaguely taking shape.
Fast forward to today, and while we still have 38 months to go, it’s beginning to look a lot like New York’s own underground version of the impossible dream will come true. The MTA yesterday released a brand new set of images from the construction zone, and the progress is significant. Atop this post is an image from 96th St. — nearly the same view as the one I snapped two and a half years ago — and you can now see a station platform and track bed clearly taking shape. (Here is another view.)
Things are looking a bit rougher around the edges at 86th St., but you can see waterproofing well under way and track beds taking shape. Notice the difference in design too between the Second Ave. Subway and our standard-issue early-to-mid 20th century tunnels: With two deep-bore tubes, passing trains will see each other only in stations.
For more on the world underneath the city, browse over to this Vanity Fair long read. MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu loves himself the Second Ave. Subway, but East Side Access, unsurprisingly, gets more muted praise from those involved.