On Sunday, Jan. 1, New York’s historic Second Avenue subway line reopened to riders.
According to Fox News, the nearly two-mile line opened at noon, adding three new stations along Second Avenue at 96th, 86th, and 72nd streets and a new connection to an existing subway line at 63rd Street. The route is an extension of the Q line, which now runs from the Upper East Side in Manhattan to Coney Island in Brooklyn.
The first train left the station at East 96th Street following a speech given by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“I hope when you go down there you really feel how much hard work and time and patience it’s taken to get to this point,” Cuomo said. “It’s incredible. This is not your grandfather’s station.”
Riders wore festive red hats that read “Second Avenue Station” to celebrate the line’s reopening.
“I can see my friends in Brooklyn much easier now,” rider Jessica Hauser told the Associated Press. “It’s really great to have another subway nearby. I think it’s going to release a lot of pressure from the 4, 5 and 6 trains. Especially in the morning when I have to sometimes wait for a second or third train, since they’re so packed.”
Rider Betsy Morris also expressed her excitement about the line’s reopening. “I was very choked up,” Morris told the New York Times. “How do you explain something that you never thought would happen? It’s going to change the way everybody lives as far as commuting goes.”
“We’ve been waiting for 10 years, or more, to ride,” rider Jill Tallmer told the New York Times. “Hopefully, it’s almost ready for us.”
A ceremonial first ride took place on Saturday night for an invitation-only group of dignitaries, approximately 90 minutes before the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, Fox News reports.
The new line is expected to carry 200,000 riders per day, easing New York’s congestion problem. On average, the subway system transports 5.6 million riders weekly.
New York’s transportation board envisioned a Second Avenue subway in 1929, but the Great Depression, in addition to the stock market crash, delayed their plan. The project reportedly started up again in 1972, but a financial crisis once again put the line on hold. The city officially began working on the tunneling for the line in 2007.
According to Fox News, the $4.4 billion section opened on Sunday was originally set to open in 2013.
When the full-length subway line is finished, riders will be able to enjoy an improved transportation experience – the MTA website lists the following:
- Service extending 8.5 miles along Manhattan’s East Side – from 125th, in Harlem to Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan
- A connection to the 63rd, and Broadway lines – for direct service from East Harlem and the Upper East Side to Midtown West – via the Broadway express tracks
- 16 new stations serving communities including Harlem, the Upper East Side, East Midtown, Gramercy Park, the East Village, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Lower Manhattan
- Easy transfers to other subway lines – creating a smoother, faster transportation between uptown and downtown and the East and West Side – including commuter rail lines
According to the MTA, phase one of the Second Avenue line will provide riders with the following benefits:
- Serves approximately 200,000 riders per day
- Decreases crowding on the Lexington Avenue line by as much as 13 percent; 23,500 fewer riders on an average weekday
- Reduces travel time by 10 minutes or more for riders traveling from the Upper East Side
[Featured Image by MarioGuti/Thinkstock]