Home Second Avenue Subway Second Ave. Milestones: A complete station cavern at 86th Street

Second Ave. Milestones: A complete station cavern at 86th Street

by Benjamin Kabak

Although the 7 line has limped to a finish line that always seems to be receding into the future, the MTA insists that Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway will open for revenue service in December of 2016 as promised. To that end, the agency announced today that the $332 million contract to complete the station shell at 86th St. has wrapped. Additional finishing work, including on HVAC systems, those pesky elevators and escalators and other architectural details continue, and to commemorate this milestone, the MTA released a new set of photos (embedded above) showing the progress. It’s beginning to look a lot like a subway.

Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway is a $4.4 billion extension of the Q north from its current sometimes-terminus at 57th St. and 7th Ave. Using preexisting tunnels, the subway will head north to the unused side of the F train’s 63rd St. station (with a new entrance at 3rd Ave.) before heading north through new tunnels underneath 2nd Ave., making stops at 72nd St., 86th St. and 96th St. Money for the Phase 2 extension to 125th St. has been included in the 2015-2019 Capital Plan, but the MTA, controversially in some circles, has not yet set a firm budget for the project. Meanwhile, the MTA says work on Phase 1 is 76 percent complete, and despite those troubles on the Far West Side, the agency promises an on-time opening. As the cliché goes, only time will tell.

As a coda, the 86th St. station may bring up memories of the second Yorkshire Towers lawsuit against the project. As you may recall, Judge Furman of the Southern District threatened to sanction the attorneys for bringing a frivolous suit and failing to adequately represent previous lawsuits in their 2013 filings. The case was shortly dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs thereafter, and all has been smooth sailing, legally, for Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway ever since.

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Alex December 18, 2014 - 5:21 pm

Question: Do deep cavern stations have to be that large or is that an aesthetic choice? I’m guessing the vaulted ceiling is the way to go that far underground but some of them just seem so big. I know stations are a huge part of the cost of building a subway so I was curious.

SEAN December 18, 2014 - 6:57 pm

Take a good look at the vaulted ceilings at some of the WMATA stations, those are quite impressive. Of note are the transfer stations including Metro Center where a cross vault exists.

GitErDun December 18, 2014 - 7:02 pm

I remember reading that each of the new SAS stations on opening day will have more passenger traffic than entire transit lines (and some transit systems) in other parts of the country.

Plus, this station is part of the first phase of a new line that is expected stretch to Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and the Upper West Side.
Perhaps even in our lifetimes.

Build it right the first time, so it doesn’t have to be done again this century.

Jerrold December 18, 2014 - 7:13 pm

Well, maybe you’re young.

Nyland8 December 18, 2014 - 8:32 pm

“Build it right the first time,… ”

Too late. They’ve already omitted running express tracks which would have provided more utility, and greater opportunities for future expansions.

Guest December 19, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Well it sucks that there are no express tracks but perhaps in the future an additional track could be laid below? Also, I would expect express service to be more important outside of Manhattan.

Jonah December 21, 2014 - 9:42 pm

“Express” trains in NYC run at about the same speed (end to end) as non “express” trains in modern systems…

Kai B December 19, 2014 - 9:30 pm

The rest of the world, save for that one line in Philly, doesn’t have express tracks and they do just fine. If you space stations out, like the SAS is doing, you will still move quickly.

adirondacker12800 December 19, 2014 - 10:01 pm

The L in Chicago has three and four track lines.
The express tracks don’t have to run next to the local tracks. They don’t on Lexington Ave or on parts of 6th.

Nyland8 December 20, 2014 - 12:37 am

It shouldn’t be compared to the rest of the world. It should be compared to EVERY SINGLE OTHER MANHATTAN TRUNK LINE – which ALL have express lanes! It will be the ONLY one that DOESN’T. THAT is comparing apples to apples … get it?

Alex December 20, 2014 - 9:11 pm

All of the trunk lines that run north/south through Midtown have express tracks, but that’s not really the case below 14th and above 57th. I’m OK with the lack of express tracks. I would have rather have had another station between 63rd and 86th. Seems like 72nd to 86th is a long stretch with no station.

Nyland8 December 21, 2014 - 9:23 am

?? Hmm. Are you sure the 2/3, A/D, & 4/5 don’t run express above 57th Street? And the A is an express down to Canal St. The 2/3 run express down to Chambers. Have you ever been on a NYC subway? And even if what you said was true, and it isn’t, why would that matter?

The significant point you seem to be overlooking is that running express lines through Manhattan means having the ability of splitting the line into more local branches in the outer boroughs. It means using the same N/S corridor for double its potential, including doubling the effective use of each station, which has to be built anyway.

I’ll concede that a station at 79th would make sense on a lot of levels. But you’re comparing adding one Manhattan station with the potential to expand more lines, and many more miles of coverage into Brooklyn and the Bronx? Now you’re comparing oranges to lacrosse balls.

BruceNY December 21, 2014 - 10:36 am

If we should live to see Phase III built, the next station heading downtown after 72nd St. will be 55th St.–an incredibly long stretch for one of the most densely populated areas in the country. The entire East 60’s are being bypassed, and an opportunity to create a connection to the BMT lines from Queens is squandered.
All this because we could only muster two tracks instead of four!

Bolwerk December 21, 2014 - 10:57 am

If the 72nd station stretches into the 60s and the 55th one stretches at least close to the 60s, the gap is really only five blocks. Plus the Q and F will have a transfer at 63rd, which is pretty close to Second Avenue.

Not perfect, but hardly catastrophic.

BruceNY December 21, 2014 - 11:07 am

But it won’t. The southern-most entrance at 72nd Street will be on 70th. The northern-most entrance I at 55th Street, I believe according to current plans is 55th as the station may extend south to connect with the 53rd St. line. While I eagerly await the 3rd Ave. entrance at 63rd Street to open, believe you me if you lived over by 1st or York Ave. in the 60’s, you’d be very disappointed too that after all the billions of dollars spent on this line, that entrance is all we are going to get.

Bolwerk December 21, 2014 - 12:02 pm

That still puts almost everyone east of Lex within 0.3 mile crow flight of a subway station. Extreme cases probably go up to 0.4 miles of walking, maybe 0.5 for York Avenue and some people who are in-between and must have the T.

Bolwerk December 21, 2014 - 10:46 am

The current segment can easily support two northern branches, no question. That’s one for 125th Street and one for The Bronx. Probably enough up there.

The southern phases probably could too if some service were diverted from Queens Blvd. to pick up slack the Q diversion back to the BMT Broadway leaves to the T. Could be good news for Rockaway Blvd. Branch service if NYC can stop Cuomo from selling it as a playground for SUV-driving hipsters.

Other than that, the southerly phases could still be quad-tracked, if you really can make a case for that kind of service branching. Cuomo and de Blasio aren’t about to push for it, but neither has a good chance of being here by the time construction south of the 60s starts. AIUI, de Blasio is term limited, so we’re only stuck with him for another 7 years. In the off chance NYC gets a visionary mayor and/or governor in the next decade something could come of it. There are enough interesting IND provisions to make it at least possible – perhaps including the South 4th Street station.

However, IMHO it might at this point make more sense to just drop the express idea. The SAS will be roughly spaced and timed to keep pace with an express on the IND, and probably will be faster. The east side’s shorter east-west blocks would make another subway on First Avenue or Third Avenue pretty suitable for outer-borough-to-outer-borough-by-way-of-Manhattan travel if the need becomes available.

Brooklynite December 18, 2014 - 9:41 pm

I’m not sure that the line can be expected to go to the Bronx; given typical MTA cost-cutting, they will remove the provision at the north end of the line for a Bronx extension, then claim once the line is open that building a flying junction will be too disruptive to service.

Also, given the endemic MTA corruption, I’m ready to bet the line won’t get outside of Manhattan before 2100. Looking at the current phase, it’s taken them 12 years from funding procurement to completion (2004-17), and that’s assuming no 7-Extension-style delays at the end. 12 years for a 40-block segment with no underpinning of any transit infrastructure. Compare that with even Phase II – while many of the tunnels exist, underpinning the 125/Lex complex is not going to be fun.

Finally, the skyrocketing and completely absurd construction costs will catch up to the MTA eventually, and it will simply stop getting funding for capital programs.

Guest December 19, 2014 - 3:14 pm

Not extending service to the Bronx would be a crime considering the current and projected population. I highly doubt the MTA would not consider creating a provision for further extension.

Brooklynite December 19, 2014 - 7:42 pm

Sure, they’ll consider it.

Then they’ll do a bunch of “alternatives studies” and “cost-benefit analyses” and conclude that the provision will cost too much. Just like 10 Av on the 7 and the third track at 72nd/2nd.

John-2 December 19, 2014 - 11:00 pm

Before they can even think about going north to the Bronx, they’ll have to go south from 63rd Street. The Q’s planning is already committed to 125th Street and Lex as part of Phase II — you could get the Q to the Bronx via a connection across 125th to the unused tracks on the Eighth Avenue line between 125th and 145th Street, and then run it in place of the B as Concourse local, but that would be a roundabout route that would please nobody.

Until the MTA goes south of 63rd and creates the T line as part of Phase III, they don’t have an extra line north of 63rd to send to the Bronx while the other turns west on 125th. And even then, odds are any Bronx routing would be Phase V or Phase VI, behind the lower Manhattan Phase IV section and any possible link to Brooklyn via the Montague tunnel.

sonicboy678 December 20, 2014 - 10:25 am

It would make more sense to have the T begin operation before looking toward the Bronx; a Bronx route would follow Third and Webster Avenues to Gun Hill Road then turn and go to White Plains Road with provisions for an extension to Co-op City.

Brooklynite December 20, 2014 - 2:29 pm

Question – why is SAS curving over to Lex in the first place? That serves nobody – everyone from the Bronx will still have to cross the Harlem River on the 4/5/6. Also, even if a branch is eventually added to the Bronx at least a quarter of SAS capacity will be taken up by trains going to the stub terminal at Lex. Wouldn’t it be better to have SAS go straight to the Bronx?

sonicboy678 December 20, 2014 - 2:56 pm

Here’s how I see it: the main SAS route (T) will serve 125th Street (from a location on Manhattan’s West Side) over to Second Avenue, then turn down Second Avenue to eventually reach a particular part of Brooklyn. (I would personally recommend a Flatbush Avenue Line for this.)

The Bronx would be served by the Q with peak express service; if necessary, a few T trips can be diverted to the Bronx in order to serve as a local for the Q. This setup can alleviate at least some of the stress on 125th Street as well as up in the Bronx all at once while providing better access to Brooklyn.

Brooklynite December 20, 2014 - 9:02 pm

The Q does not have anywhere near enough trains per hour to serve the Bronx adequately; what would be better IMO is to have a separate 125 St Crosstown that would go to LaGuardia as well. Assuming that doesn’t happen, the cheapest thing would be sending the T to the Bronx and the Q to 125/2.

If just the T goes to the Bronx, it could take over the Jerome Line north of Yankee Stadium. If the T/Q (in other words 30tph) go to the Bronx, they can take over the Pelham Line north of Hunts Point Av instead.

sonicboy678 December 20, 2014 - 11:09 pm

Here we go again.

You blatantly disregarded what I said and came up with hypothetical situations that would do far more harm than good. First off, I specifically said if necessary in the instance that the Q would not be able to adequately serve the Bronx on its own. Secondly, not everyone using 125th Street is going to/from LGA. Having a crosstown route to LGA could work, but the only reason why it would even remotely have a chance at thriving is because most of the people who would use it are going to/from the airport. For such a short route that would be utterly decimated in the unlikely but still possible event that LGA is closed entirely, it’s not worth having unless it’s paired with another service going to an entirely different place.

Your proposals to have certain services take over the functions of existing services comes with several problems. The first and largest of them is basically for the same reason why I explicitly spoke out against the 3/5 swap you tried to throw into the forum. In doing that, you effectively cut off the 6 from its only inspection & maintenance facility — as well as its only yard — and you cut the 4 off from access to Concourse and especially Mosholu Yards, thereby crippling 4 service. Sure, the 4 has Livonia Yard, but what good is that with its small size and space reserved for several routes at once which all need the equipment? Trying to have those trains cross in front of others would be operational suicide. Another issue pertains to having to widen everything just to avoid having B Division trains crash into/scrape each other on a constant basis or have wasteful holds. A third one comes up with the Pelham takeover you mentioned: the curve at Whitlock Avenue is fairly sharp; I’m pretty sure it’s sharp enough to cause problems with B Division trains, given their limits caused by their specifications. Then the bridge crossing over Westchester Avenue crossing the Bronx River needs to be factored in. The amount of demolition and reconstruction for such a move would be insane (hell, it was when the Astoria Line was converted from A Division to B Division standards — and that’s a short, almost 100% linear line!). All of this would be unnecessarily more costly than is worth obsessing over. A Third/Webster Avenues extension would be more practical and have original construction immediately tailored to B Division specifications without causing harm to the A Division.

One quick thing: you can suggest sending trains to 180, 239, or Livonia, but that plan fails. Why do you think certain routes were swapped in the 1980s? Simple: to reduce complications caused by lack of direct access to yards and especially inspection & maintenance facilities. Reopening any wound of that magnitude to suit an absolutely nonsensical fantasy is suicide.

Brooklynite December 21, 2014 - 9:40 pm

If the Q (~10tph) went to the Bronx on an independent line, it would not provide enough service, so some additional service would be needed. Assuming this doesn’t come from a Brooklyn , the T would have to send some runs to the Bronx, as you said. It is doubtful that MTA is looking to add more split lines, like the A, to its system.

Okay, having a little shuttle running down 125th to LGA might not be extremely efficient, so an SAS line joining it would be preferred. I can agree on that.

And yes, I thought that the yard issue if the Q/T/whatever took over Pelham was weird as well. However, in the 1968 Program for Action MTA had this same idea ( http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/
), so I’m assuming the logistics could be worked out. Perhaps the yard situation could be resolved by having dual tripcocks or something so IRT trains could deadhead from Westchester? I don’t know, but MTA had the idea.

As for operations, the Pelham and Jerome Lines were built under the Dual Contracts, so they are supposed to be convertible to B Div standards easily. Besides the platforms and tripcocks, nothing is (supposed to) need modification to send a B Division train to Pelham Bay, for instance. Assuming this is actually true (I’m not an MTA engineer, so I can’t verify), this could potentially be done over a single long weekend.

adirondacker12800 December 20, 2014 - 8:14 pm

If the people from the Bronx get off at 125th Street to get their job much farther downtown, that leaves space for people at 96th Street to get on. And vice versa in the afternoon. The people who get off at 96th leave space for the people transferring from the Q to get home.

Brooklynite December 20, 2014 - 9:05 pm

Here’s the thing though – people will probably try to get to the 4/5/6 first, because they know they will have to transfer to them anyway. Also, making 125/Lex (and the Harlem River tunnel) such a central hub for Bronx passengers is making it very vulnerable to any incidents.

adirondacker12800 December 20, 2014 - 9:18 pm

after almost 100 years of operation maybe it’s worth taking that risk.

Brooklynite December 20, 2014 - 9:27 pm

What I’m saying is that sending SAS to 125/Lex will not increase BronxManhattan capacity at all. It may in fact even decrease it by increasing dwell at 125.

While yes, SAS might relieve the 6, isn’t the 4/5 the real issue in terms of capacity? They will still be faster than the Q so it won’t help.

adirondacker12800 December 20, 2014 - 11:02 pm

There are other destinations in Manhattan besides Grand Central.

Brooklynite December 21, 2014 - 9:44 pm

Obviously there are. But once a person boards a 4/5 train in the Bronx, it will be faster to stay on the 4/5 to 59th, 42nd, 14th, or Lower Manhattan and transfer there than changing at 125 for the Q which may or may not be closer to one’s destination. That’s what I’m saying – the Q will not attract customers off of the 4/5.

Nathanael December 21, 2014 - 2:06 am

SAS is curving over to Lexington so that people coming from the Bronx can jump off the Lex and jump on the SAS, clearing up room for Harlem & Uptown passengers to get onto the Lex. Clear?

You could avoid this if you instead stopped SAS at 3 Av / 136 St, and 149 St Grand Concourse…. but all the Bronx proposals I’ve seen have had SAS heading *east* not west.

Also, there needs to be a 125th St. crosstown line, and this is the best way to start it.

johndmuller December 21, 2014 - 6:37 am

Nathanael says:
SAS is curving over to Lexington so that people coming from the Bronx can jump off the Lex and jump on the SAS, clearing up room for Harlem & Uptown passengers to get onto the Lex.

I’m not so sure how many passengers from the Bronx will want to transfer to the SAS at 125th. Riders from the 4 or 5 will have already had the chance to transfer to a west side line (B/D or 3) in the Bronx; they may already even have a seat, which may not be a good enough reason to change trains anyway. It would of course be a benefit for 6 line passengers who wanted to get over onto the Broadway line. Riders heading toward the Bronx might also prefer transferring to their final Bronx line sooner rather than later.

Locating the 125th St. station to enable transfers with the Lex and Metro North was not the best decision; I think they should have put it just south of 125th so that Bronx and 125th street branches could share it; the Lex/MN transfer thing looks like an after the fact rationalization given the decision not to go into the Bronx. The could, I suppose try to work with this location by running the Bronx segment up from there, like under 5th or Madison (that would work especially well if there was a surprise, but still useful routing in the Bronx to the west of Jerome Ave).

Bolwerk December 21, 2014 - 10:20 am

Concur with johndmuller but…

From the standpoint that SAS is pretty final after the currently planned Phase 4, the MNRR transfer seems sound. At least, it might split MNRR riders who currently transfer to the Lex somewhat evenly between SAS and Lex. Anybody who gets a better ride by transferring will probably transfer, but for Second Ave. catchment destinations their final destination will need to be at least east of Third Avenue to really make the transfer worth it. Elsewise they’re probably being poached from the 7.

For some reason when this topic is discussed, it’s forgotten that the stations north of 68th and south of The Bronx probably aren’t attracting many morning inbound users. So if inbound Lex is packed, there really is no room to take on more users in some of the densest neighborhoods in the USA.

I take it that the SAS will have an alleviating effect on inbound Lex crowding, but maybe not a the revolutionary one people expect. It also has the potential to *add* crowding to the outbound commute!

Brooklynite December 21, 2014 - 9:57 pm

As I’ve discussed above, the issue with the SAS to 125th & Lex is indeed that it will not relieve the 4/5. Yes, it is possible that some customers on the 6 will want to transfer to get a seat, so there will be space for a few to board in the UES. However, once someone boards the 4/5 staying on board and transferring somewhere closer to Midtown will still be faster, so that is what they will do.

Yes, SAS to the Bronx would be much more efficient because it would get them on 2 Av trains in the first place, without having to get the 4/5/6 first.

@Bolwerk: If someone is on MNR, they have no reason to transfer to the Q unless they are going to a location on the Upper East Side (60s or higher). (If they aren’t they will just ride non-stop to GCT and walk.) There’s not an awfully large number of people currently doing that commute.
I don’t know about morning rush ridership specifically but the UES Lex stations are some of the system’s busiest. 86th is 10th systemwide.

Bolwerk December 21, 2014 - 11:56 pm

I have trouble buying a no relief argument. I don’t see why the Q wouldn’t be preferable to anybody traveling to Second Avenue. It’s also preferable to anyone who happens to want to get to the 30s on the west side. It probably even is a better alternative to the 2 Train for some west side traffic. Those things, admittedly, have limited appeal, but probably far from zero.

Brooklynite December 22, 2014 - 11:16 am

If someone is traveling to 2 Av above the 60s, sure, the Q will be more convenient at 125th. If a person wants to get to the West 30’s, it will still be faster to transfer to the NRW at 59th or the S at 42nd. Compared to the 4/5, the Q will be infrequent and slow.

Bolwerk December 26, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Why would it be slow? Infrequent, maybe, but probably still at least 10 TPH at peak.

I can understand express users preferring 59th Street, but local users (6 Train) probably would still prefer the Q. Plus they don’t have the 2 option in The Bronx to the West Side, like 4/5 users do.

adirondacker12800 December 26, 2014 - 5:00 pm

4 train users can switch to the B or the D at Yankee Stadium to get to the West Side. They can transfer to Metro North there, not easily, but they can. They don’t change to Metro North. Same as at Marble Hill.

Nathanael December 28, 2014 - 1:27 am

In practice, it’s actually the 6 (local) which is jam-packed all day long. The 4/5 (express) generally has a little more room. So relieving the 6 is more important.

In peak hours when the 4/5 is full too, people who do *not* have a seat on the 4/5 are likely to change lines just to get a seat and some breathing room.

“However, once someone boards the 4/5 staying on board and transferring somewhere closer to Midtown will still be faster,”

So if you really care about that (and I’m not sure it matters, given what I noted above), rearrange service patterns.

Run the Woodlawn & Dyre Avenue services local in Manhattan, and run the Pelham Bay Park services express.

Then the Woodlawn & Dyre Avenue passengers will switch trains because it’s faster, and the Pelham Bay Park passengers will switch trains because it’s their first opportunity to change to a West Side line.

Mathias December 18, 2014 - 8:59 pm

To be fair, the deep cavern stations are not large but considered standard size according to today’s morden standards. Load factor, number of entrances and exits etc. are among some of the factors that need to be considered. Afterall, you wouldn’t want someone to fall onto the tracks when the platform is crowded right?

pete December 19, 2014 - 3:39 pm

If the station was mined, like 53rd lexington, then it will be really small. If the station was dug, and SAS stations were dug down from the street, there isn’t very much point to cover the hole with dirt, since the slurry walls already exist all the way to the street surface. SAS is ridiculously deep, yet 50% of it was C&C since the station footprints are huge (the stations are a few blocks longer than a subway train for no good reason), so the contractors could make more $ .

ComradeFrana December 20, 2014 - 8:54 am

The 86th Street and 72nd stations are mined. Only 96th street station is cut-and-cover as it also doubled as the TBM launch box. All are about the same size.

Jerrold December 18, 2014 - 7:19 pm

By the way, Ben, you meant 57th St. and SEVENTH AVE.
North of Times Sq., remember, the IRT is on Broadway and the BMT is on 7th Ave.

P.S. If IRT and BMT do not mean anything to somebody who is reading this, then maybe YOU ARE young enough to see all four 2nd Ave. phases completed in your lifetime.

sonicboy678 December 18, 2014 - 7:36 pm

Hey, I resent that P.S.!

Jerrold December 18, 2014 - 7:44 pm

I said “IF those names don’t mean anything to you”.
I am NOT assuming that EVERY young person is ignorant about subway history.

sonicboy678 December 18, 2014 - 11:02 pm

I wasn’t being serious, though I do agree that many of us will probably be gone by the time SAS rolls in entirely; hell, those that initially pushed for it decades ago are all probably gone, if not certainly gone.

Nathanael December 21, 2014 - 2:08 am

Those who pushed for it in the 1920s are definitely gone.

Jerrold December 18, 2014 - 7:48 pm

I said something like “IF those names don’t mean anything to you…….”.
I an NOT assuming that every young person is ignorant about subway history.

Quirk December 18, 2014 - 10:27 pm

No one will ever see the subway extended south of 63rd street or to the Bronx. New York City will be mostly underwater by then

Quirk December 18, 2014 - 10:28 pm

A quick climate change/global warming article leads to


Quirk December 18, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Nevermind, can someone delete these comments.

Kai B December 19, 2014 - 9:32 pm

If you call services by color you might be young enough!

Desk Jockey December 18, 2014 - 7:31 pm

Wow does that ever look like a DC Metro station-like Farragut North & Dupont Circle had a kid.

Jerrold December 18, 2014 - 7:50 pm

Ben, first I had trouble posting that comment, then
it wound up going up there twice.
Please delete one of them.

John-2 December 19, 2014 - 12:52 am

The vault space isn’t as wasteful as it seems if the upper section is used as the mezzanine/fare control. WMATA stations were made to look more cavernous by design because the mezzanines were truncated, with in many cases only one lonely ‘up’ and one ‘down’ escalator per fare control area.

No one at the MTA is that crazy to design a station that limits platform access from fare control, and looking at the earlier photos of the layout of Hudson Yards, the cavern vault there does seem to be split into platform level and upper fare control (though if the stations are going to have air conditioning, having some area upward for the hot air to float to isn’t a bad idea).

RJS December 19, 2014 - 12:30 pm

Yup, all the renderings I’ve seen show a flat ceiling above the mezzaninie, most of the arched portion will hold HVAC. When finished, these stations won’t resemble WMATA stations at all.

pete December 19, 2014 - 3:42 pm

The WMATA stations were designed so most of the platform can be viewed from the mezzanine, against mugging risk. That is also why they are columnless.

BruceNY December 21, 2014 - 11:02 am

It’s too bad that the opportunity to have breathtakingly high, arched stations, similar to those in DC and other cities is lost, and we will end up with the same, cramped-feeling, dropped-ceiling stations, whose panels will eventually be coated in grime and rusty water leak stains.

Bolwerk December 21, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Call me crazy, but I’d most prefer to just have a usable subway line. Anything else is gravy.

Nathanael December 28, 2014 - 1:35 am

I’m just hoping they actually manage the water properly (unlike the last iteration at South Ferry). Most subway stations worldwide do *not* have the persistent water damage we see in New York… and New York actually has *favorable* geology compared to most of those places.

Bolwerk December 28, 2014 - 9:25 am

Bugger management, they need to re-tile some of the old BMT and IRT stations. I don’t think they have since the days of private operation, maybe never.

Doing it in a way to preserve some old mosaics might be tough. But you expect some water damage in that environment.

Nyland8 December 28, 2014 - 11:51 pm

Short of creating an impact crack, or some type of hard abrasion, it’s not that easy to damage the surface of ceramic tiles. Most of the “damage” is actually just deposits on top of the glaze. Regular schmutz can be cleaned off in a variety of ways, and mineral deposits can be leached off with a caustic compound – as long as the exposure time is tightly controlled.

adirondacker12800 December 29, 2014 - 2:40 am

They gotta ask the Port Authority what they use in their tunnel scrubbing machines.

Jerrold December 19, 2014 - 3:08 pm

[Off-topic, but this is the only way that I can get this message up.]

TO BEN: It would be a good idea for you to put in something about today’s announcement that weekend PATH service to WTC resumes as of tomorrow.
Also, the downside of that announcement was that in the second half of 2015, they will do the same business with the 33rd St. line.

Benjamin Kabak December 19, 2014 - 3:20 pm

Please email me these tips in the future. They don’t really belong as off-topic comments, and odds are good I’ll handle it with the service advisories this weekend!

Jerrold December 19, 2014 - 3:58 pm

As they say on Facebook:

SEEN 3:55 P.M.

Jerrold December 19, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Another point that should be made is that they are taking their sweet time with the 63rd St./Lex station. Why can’t they finish the Third Ave, entrance without waiting for the Second Avenue service to start?
IT IS after all a station currently in use.

BruceNY December 19, 2014 - 9:57 pm

Amen to that! But I think that it is still being used primarily for transporting construction materials down to the platform so until that work is done they won’t be able to finish the entrance. But please, please MTA don’t make the bone-head decision to wait to open this entrance at the same time as the rest of the 2nd Avenue line! How about December, 2015???

Nyland8 December 21, 2014 - 11:52 am

I’d like to revisit the idea of running across 125th St. westward all the way to the Hudson. North of Central Park there are zero cross-town trains, and 125th is the ideal location for many reasons.

Being able to connect the T Line to, in turn, the 2/3, the A/B/C/D, the 1 Line, and the Empire corridor of the future MetroNorth station planned to be located there, is a great and reasonable way to connect upper Manhattan,and western Bronx, to the east side and points beyond … and vice versa.

From an engineering standpoint, because of the difference in geology, most of the journey would be through relatively soft overburden – not tunneling through hard Manhattan schist like the current SASs east side phases do. This means little or no blasting, and TBM speeds 4X faster than Phases I&II.

Also an excursion pier has already been built right there – 130th St on the Hudson, which means all you need to start ferry service is a fare box and a fence. This would mean that ferries from Westchester and Rockland Counties would immediately become more viable options by quickly dumping their passengers on a very well-connected cross-town subway, without having to take the much slower boat ride all the way down to midtown, and then hopping an even slower cross-town bus.

The end of the line would be right at the major Columbia University campus expansion, translating to high-density subway traffic from staff and students starting the day it opens.

The tail tracks for the T Line will already bring it more than halfway to the 2/3 Line station on Malcolm X. In a saner world, future plans can send it eastward across Randalls Island all the way to LaGuardia. All-in-all, it’s a lot of bang for the buck for just a mile-and-a-half of subway extension.

Nathanael December 30, 2014 - 1:13 am

“Also an excursion pier has already been built right there – 130th St on the Hudson, which means all you need to start ferry service is a fare box and a fence. This would mean that ferries from Westchester and Rockland Counties would immediately become more viable options…”

Not to mention Edgewater !!

adirondacker12800 December 30, 2014 - 4:29 am

Uh huh. Drive to the ferry terminal through awful traffic, park the car, take a slow ferry across the river, get on a bus to get to the subway and then take a half hour subway ride to your job downtown. When you can get the bus or train right in your suburb that goes to Midtown.

Nyland8 December 30, 2014 - 6:58 am

Uh … no. That “slow ferry” is quicker across the river at that location than driving across the GWB during rush hours, especially when the Cross Bronx gets backed up, and the whole point is that with a cross-town T Line following 125th St, you wouldn’t have to get on a bus after the ferry crossing. You climb right onto a subway that can bring you all the way down the east side of Manhattan, and hit every uptown trunk line along the way. Not to mention having two MetroNorth connections.

But someone would have to build a large, multi-level car park – OR – a lot of Jersey busses would have to swing through there.

adirondacker12800 December 30, 2014 - 8:44 am

why would I take a bus to Edgewater when there is a bus or a train to Midtown at the same stop? Or a connection in Hoboken to Wall Street? The traffic on the bridge comes from somewhere. The same roads people would use to get to Edgewater. Or drive there when there is a bus or train that gets me downtown faster?

Nyland8 December 30, 2014 - 9:11 am

” … why would I take a bus to Edgewater when there is a bus or a train to Midtown at the same stop?”

You probably wouldn’t. On the other hand, people who live in Leonia, Cliffside Park, Palisades Park, Fort Lee, North Bergen, Fairview and Edgewater might. In other words a large segment of very densely populated counties that have no train access, and whose bus access to NYC leaves them at PABT … where they might have little or no interests in being left.

You seem to be struggling with the viability of an excursion pier – WHICH IS ALREADY BUILT – at 125th St, and the existing ferry terminal – WHICH IS ALREADY IN OPERATION – right across the river, the existence of both of which add to any reasonable justification for the already very reasonable prospect of running the T Line cross-town at 125th St over to the west side.

Why?? What’s your problem with them? Would you have one dismantled, and the other shut down?

That location is perfect as an uptown transportation hub. MetroNorth has already proposed putting a station there and opening the Empire corridor to direct traffic into NYPenn, and there is already a bus terminal 1 block away. If it promotes mass transit use, and takes traffic off the GWB, and away from the cross-Hudson tunnels, what is your objection??

adirondacker12800 December 30, 2014 - 11:42 am

Because it would take longer. Because it takes longer few people would use it.
I’ll ask again. Why would I want to get on bus that gets stuck the same traffic cars get stuck in, get on a ferry, walk blocks to the subway or get on another bus and get to my job downtown slower than if just took the bus or train to Midtown or Wall Street? The subway takes 20 minutes to get from from 168th to Times Square. The bus from Leonia to Times Square takes 30 or 40.
Any decade now you’ll be able to get on HBLR and go to Hoboken or Newport if you want to go downtown. 16 minutes from Tonnelle Ave to Hoboken or Newport. 14 from Hoboken to 33rd and 10 to the World Trade Center. Which one am I going to use if I work south of 59th St.? Or want to shop at Macy’s or Bloomingdales? Or go to Madison Square Garden? Or Radio City Music Hall? Or Barclay’s Center? Or Prudential Center? Or Newark Airport? Or JFK?

Nyland8 December 30, 2014 - 12:29 pm

Really? Do you want me to list all the places that would be easier and quicker to get to from a T Line connection at 125th Street? Is that what you’re asking for??

I’ll spare the forum your embarrassment. Just answer the question. What do you have against a ferry connection between an already-built and ferry-ready pier in Manhattan, and an already existing ferry terminal across the Hudson in Edgewater? And if you’re not among the people who would use it, then what on earth do you care about the motivations of the people that would??

Were you frightened by a ferry as a child?

adirondacker12800 December 30, 2014 - 12:57 pm

It’s a really long walk from the Hudson River to Lexington Ave.

Nyland8 December 30, 2014 - 1:57 pm

Now you’re making my point. Thank you. It’s a really long walk from NYPenn to Lexington. It’s a really long walk from PABT to Lexington. But if you’re disembarking a ferry at 125th St and the river, and getting on a cross-town T train that goes down the east side, it isn’t much of a walk at all.

Here’s the schedule list of the Edgewater ferry – every half hour from 6:15 to 9:45 AM. Why don’t you argue with all of the people that are already taking it, and tell them that their time and money is better spent on one of your “faster” alternatives. I’m sure they must not have considered them.

BTW, it lists travel time as approximately 13 minutes down to the midtown terminal by the Javits – AFTER WHICH they probably still ride at least one bus, and then perhaps a subway to their final destination.

6:45 AM
7:15 AM
7:45 AM
8:15 AM
8:45 AM
9:15 AM
9:45 AM

Evening “return” trips start at 4:15 PM and run until 7:45.

Not only are these patrons not interested in taking the “faster” bus to PABT, but they’re willing to pay $300 a month to take the “slower” ferry. Please – feel free to educate them.

I’m suggesting that someday the single seat ride – and they will ALL have seats from 125th St. – all the way down to the financial district on the SAS will make that location much faster, and much more desirable to thousands of commuters than ferrying down to midtown, and hopping on a bus. If I’m commuting from Nyack or Yonkers, it becomes damned attractive. And if I work on the east side, even doubly so.

Running the SAS X-town to 125th and the Hudson is a smart idea for a lot of very good reasons. The ferry terminal there is only one of them.

Of course serving “those” patrons up in Harlem might not be a favorable idea to many. More’s the pity.

adirondacker12800 December 30, 2014 - 5:30 pm

If it’s running every half hour there aren’t that many people taking it. The bus that stops outside of the marina gets to the PABT in 23 minutes. It runs every 15 minutes.
It might be faster if I worked on 112th and Lex. By the time the T gets to the Hudson HBLR to Englewood will be running. How much faster if I work in Rockefeller Center or the World Trade Center? Or slower.

Nyland8 December 31, 2014 - 6:10 am

(sigh) How often it runs is as much a function of what is the capacity of the boat. If it were half the size, it might have to run twice as often. Your argument is unconvincing and it is wasted on me. If you really can’t wrap your mind around whose commute can benefit from extending the T Line cross-town, then you’re simply being obtuse. I’ll have to assume that you can’t see any farther than the myopia of your own personal agenda.

I’ll ask these questions again, even though you’ve shown me no indication that you’re capable of answering them.

What do you have against a ferry connection between an already-built ferry-ready pier in Manhattan, and an already existing ferry terminal across the Hudson in Edgewater?

If it promotes mass transit use, and takes traffic off the crowded GWB, out of the crowded cross-Hudson tunnels, and the already crowded-beyond-capacity PABT, then what is your objection??

And if you’re not among the people who would use it, then what on earth do you care about the motivations of the people that would??

There are 8 morning ferries that have been operating out of Edgewater for many years now. I worked right across the river just north of the new excursion pier 6 years ago and saw that ferry running every day. Who are you to assume those patrons wouldn’t be better served by a 5 minute ride to a cross-town and east side subway rather than a 13 minute ride that brings them to a bus, that brings them to yet another subway? What makes you think you have any idea how many other people might avail themselves of that 5 minute ferry ride if they had that option?? And how in the world can you assume that future ferry service – say from Yonkers, Nyack, other points north – wouldn’t opt for just such a commute over their current options???

Please don’t waste my time contriving yet another scenario of someone who wouldn’t benefit from it. Like every transportation modality, it is not for everyone. We get that. I would not benefit from a subway tunnel that ran from St. George to Bay Ridge, but I would never presume that there wouldn’t be people who would. If there is one great lesson in the history of mass transit in New York City, it is that if you build it, they will come.

adirondacker12800 December 31, 2014 - 1:28 pm

Un huh. If they buy enough boats to run every 15 minutes they can serve twice as many people. They need to pay off twice as many boats and hire twice as many crew too. If it gets to the point where they need bigger boats, when do they have to rebuild the terminals? There’s only so many people in Edgewater where the bus to Manhattan gets stuck in the same traffic that the bus to the ferry terminal gets stuck in. If traffic in Edgewater gets so bad a lot more people decide that taking the ferry is a “better” option and they need twice as many boats bigger boats.. the bus from Leonia gets stuck in it too. And it’s even faster for the people in Leonia to take the bus or the HBLR to where they want to go in Manhattan. It’s never going to be a high volume operation.

Nyland8 December 30, 2014 - 6:46 am

Indeed. There’s already a terminal almost straight across the river. It would be a 5 minute trip across the Hudson from that location.

But I don’t know why there’s a terminal in Edgewater at all. There is so little parking there, and some of it is taken up by boats. The river traffic would seem to be too little to bother.


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