New York City has been planning its Second Avenue subway line for umpteen years, but according to the available evidence, it might actually open one of these days. It might even actually be cool.
The MTA just released a bunch of pictures showing its progress. That one above — it looks something like a train station, right? And look, here are some actual train tracks:
Gothamist reports that the subway tunnel — which was being dug in two separate sections — actually … is a tunnel. We never thought this day would come:
Here’s some of what the MTA tells us the status of things are as of January 1st. At the 86th Street cavern, the job is 42 percent complete, with 88,438 bank cubic yards excavated to date. What does that mean? That means the North and South shaft caverns are now so well dug out they actually met up on January 11th. Work has now moved on to things like excavating the station entrances and elevator shafts there. Not bad.
The MTA is planning some nifty features to go along with the subway, too. The agency may not be able to open the subway for a while, but it is opening a Second Avenue Subway Community Information Center. You can even hear real live New Yorkers try to tell you about the subway’s history! The MTA recruited these people — who are required to live between 1st and 3rd Avenues and 63rd and 105th Streets — in an American Idol-style contest. They actually call it Second Avenue Idol. And you can vote on which two people will become “the voices of the Second Avenue Subway.”
This may be the most extravagant plan to curry community favor ever. You can’t fool us, MTA! There may be the word “subway” in that center’s title, but opening a room with some photos, pamphlets, and awkward voice-overs is not the same thing as an opening entire subway line.
We are excited that the train will be quieter than other New York subway trains, and we may not have to put our very important conversations on pause every time a train passes by. Not that the MTA really cares about our conversations. According to this incredibly long piece, “The main thing the authority does care about when it comes to sounds is making sure people can hear the public address loudspeakers.” That is — the MTA cares that people can hear warnings of impending fires that may burn them up. (This was once an issue in London.) Neat!
The MTA’s solution to quieter trains and to not burning you up is to “float” the train tracks off the ground. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they will actually float — as in have a layer of air in between the tracks and the ground. There’s just going to be a layer of rubber under each concrete tie. Whatever, we’ll take it. Now if they’d only just finish the darn thing.