Inside The New Addition To New York’s Mass Transit System

Published June 9, 2015
Updated January 9, 2018
Published June 9, 2015
Updated January 9, 2018
new york subway tline tunnel

The T line will eventually carry passengers between 125th Street in East Harlem and Hanover Square in the Financial District after completion of the third and fourth phases. IMAGE: BHUSHAN MONDKAR Source: Mashable

Free time is one of the few things that New York City doesn’t offer its denizens, and many living there look to commute times as one reason why. In New York, mass transit systems tend to take more time than they save. For those living on Manhattan’s east side, that’s finally about to end.

In a little under two years, East-siders will be able to access the Second Avenue Subway, whose first phase is scheduled for completion in December 2016. Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, an official leading the project, said, “The remaining 18% is the toughest. Testing a multitude of new systems, such as signals, communication, electrical, fire-safety to work together and integrating them with the existing infrastructure is the biggest challenge, but we are confident the project will open on time.”

Incredibly, the Second Avenue Subway has been in the works since the early 20th century. It was first planned at the height of the Roaring 20s, but the Great Depression pushed the infrastructure initiative to the back burner. Nearly 100 years later, the massive undertaking is about a year and a half from coming to fruition.

The multi-billion dollar expansion includes three new subway stations that cover 23 blocks of tunnels, and rests 115 feet below Second Avenue, between 63rd and 86th streets. Once finished, a total of 16 new stations will be built, serving communities in Harlem, the Upper East Side, East Midtown, Gramercy Park, East Village, the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Lower Manhattan. Upon its completion, it will be the first major expansion of New York’s subway system in over 50 years.

But before that happens, see what the project looks like today via Bhushan Mondkar’s incredible photos:

new york subway 72nd street
new york subway 63rd 72nd
new york subway 72nd 86th
new york subway mezzanine slope
Inside The New Addition To New York’s Mass Transit System
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For more on New York City, check out our posts on Harlem in the 1970s, New York in the summer of 1969, and its subways in the 1980s!

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist, and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.