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NYC 2nd Avenue Subway construction project

Updated on November 5, 2014

The Big Dig in New York City

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is completing a large-scale subway project in New York City that was abandoned 30 years ago. The new Second Avenue subway line will extend from lower Manhattan, using tracks created previously, to the north end of the island in new tunnels that are now under construction (see pictures below).

Adding another subway line will reduce congestion on the subway system overall and provide service to commuters on the far east side of Manhattan who walk several blocks to access the existing subway on Lexington Avenue.

Read about the history of the 2nd Avenue Subway, get current news about the construction project and express your opinion about this controversial issue in New York City.

Second Avenue T-train

East Side train service

Plans for the new Second Avenue Subway started in 1929, but the Great Depression prevented the project from ever getting started. Service was terminated on June 11, 1940 for the elevated tracks that were being constructed on 2nd Avenue - the date that the independent subways were consolidated into one Metropolitan Transit Authority. Tunneling work began again in 1972, but the project was abandoned a few years later when NYC was trying to avoid bankruptcy.

The Second Avenue Subway project started again in 2007 and despite construction delays and mishaps, the new subway line is expected to be completed in December 2016. The photographs here show the current progress of construction, and the MTA website provides a weekly task list which outlines the current work being performed at the new construction project.

Actual posters from the subway! - The MTA transit Museum Store

Sandhogs in literature - digging tunnels for trains and water mains

Working on the Railroad Poster by Garin Baker

Sandhog is the name of the workers who dig tunnels beneath New York City. In addition to the 2nd Avenue Subway, a new water main tunnel is also under construction far beneath the surface to supply fresh water for New York City.

The Underground City - Jules Verne - Kindle ebook, paperback & hardcover editions

The Underground City [with Biographical Introduction]
The Underground City [with Biographical Introduction]

Not as well known but no less a flight of the imagination as the protagonist, James Starr, investigates the odd story of one family in the mining community of Aberfoyle near Stirling, Scotland.


New 2nd Avenue Subway T-shirt - Transit Museum Gift Store

(2nd Av Local) T Train T-Shirt

T is the new letter used for the 2nd Avenue Local subway line, using the fashionable Robin's Egg color ( see news links ). Printed on heavyweight 100% cotton short sleeve tee shirts.

Voice your opinion

RUSH HOUR - New Yorker Cartoon by Ronald Searle

Add your vote, yes or no, and please leave your comments about how this issue affects you.

Posters from the subway trains - Submarine commuters

U-Line detail (Duke Riley)
U-Line detail (Duke Riley)

U-Line detail (Duke Riley)

Underwater in the New York City subway system of the imagination. Mermaid and Mermen commuters are standing in submarine shaped subway cars powered by electric eels! There's about eight different designs for this kind of long poster (9-1/2" x 44"). To see more of these long poster designs, see some of the other Lenses in the Subway Series or visit the Transit Museum store.

But wait, who's that at the helm of the submarine? A merman looking out the front of the train through a periscope sitting in a wheelchair with his wife standing behind him.

Could this be a veiled reference to the famous family that worked together as a team to complete one of the most beautiful bridges in New York City? The Roebling family was responsible for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, which opened on 24 May 1883.

These long, skinny posters are sold "as is" because they are the actual posters that were used in the subway cars. They are printed on heavy cardstock and most of them in the museum store look like they were kept in storage - very good or better condition. Pay much lower prices for all these posters and other subway souvenirs when you visit the Transit Museum Store in person at Grand Central Station or in Brooklyn Heights.

Facts or fictions - What's your opinion?

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    • dotpattern profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Moire 

      6 years ago from West Village, New York City

      @HomeDecorKnight: Thank you, thank you. Only a few more years to go.

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image


      6 years ago

      Great information, It's a very informative lens.

    • dotpattern profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Moire 

      7 years ago from West Village, New York City

      @anonymous: You have a very good point, issues are often misrepresented and people project what they want to happen. It looks like the MTA is trying to be as transparent as possible about the construction project, posting their work schedule online. But you have to wonder when someone claims to be "on time", "the best" or the "most reputable". Actions speak louder than words.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Of course it is on both counts, I thought that was standard operating procedure. Remember, Seth says all marketers are liars....wish it wan't true!


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