“When I was your age I had to walk three avenues, uphill!, in the snow to get to the train. You kids have it easy with the 2nd Avenue Subway. Now shut up, and pass the Metamucil.”
That’s me imagining what my future self would hypothetically say to my future grandchildren about my time living on East 93rd Street and trudging to the 4/5/6.
The 2nd Ave subway is officially open. Make that Phase 1 of the 2nd Ave subway, which is actually an extension of the Q line and will, in Phases 2 and 3, extend north to 125th and down into the bowels of the LES.
I feel like someone who lived through an agonizingly long labor and has witnessed the birth of something historic. When my paternal grandparents got married at Saint Frances de Sales church at 96th and Lexington in 1941, talks of a mythical 2nd Avenue line had been in the works for years, but life (i.e: The Great Depression) and other factors halted its construction. Flash forward to subsequent attempts in subsequent decades and ground officially broke in 2007.
I lived on East 93rd between 1st and 2nd Aves from 2010-2013, which also happened to be when construction went into beast mode. I vividly remember getting home from work, walking past barricades and through hard hat areas, being greeted with a sign like this on my building’s front door:
Beginning at 8pm tonight you will hear a series of beeps. 2 short beeps–beep, beep–and one longer beep–beeeeeep! After the 3rd beep, you will feel a slight rumbling. But do not fret, as it will merely be the earth getting ripped a new one some couple hundred feet to your right.
And like clockwork, I would hear the beeps–beep, beep, beeeeeep!–and feel the quake from 5 flights up.
So after experiencing all of that, and a rent hike most definitely connected to its arrival, I couldn’t wait to see the fabled 2nd Avenue line with my own eyes when it finally opened. And, even though it’s not the T line I thought it would be, it’s CLEAN, FREE OF SMELLS, HUGE, BRIGHT and covered in BEAUTIFUL art. Seriously, the ceilings are so expansive and the lighting so bright, I have no doubt morning commutes are now a lot more tolerable.
Here are some pictures from this past weekend when I went into full tourist mode at 86th and 96th Streets:
Pretty great, huh? Looking forward to the next phases. Who wants to place bets on timing?