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    Second Ave Subway Facts

    The Second Avenue Subway reduces overcrowding and delays on the Lexington Avenue line, improving travel for both city and suburban commuters, and provides better access to mass transit for residents of the far East Side of Manhattan. The line is being built in phases; the first phase opened to riders on January 1, 2017; the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway will extend train service from 96th St north to 125th St.

    Phase 2 Benefits

    • Will serve an additional 100,000 daily riders
    • Will provide more travel options with increased transit connections at 125th Street
    • Will provide ADA accessibility at three new stations

      Phase 2 will extend train service from the Second Avenue Subway’s northern terminus at the 96th Street station on the Upper East Side to East Harlem. There will be new stations at 106th Street and 116th Street on Second Avenue and 125 Street at Park Avenue.

      Phase 2 benefits

      Approximately 300,000 riders daily on Phases 1 and 2 combined
      Increased multimodal transit connectivity at the 125th Street station – with connections to the 4/5/6, Metro-North trains and the M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport
      A one-seat ride from East Harlem to the Upper East Side and West Midtown, a connection to the Financial District, and to Coney Island on the Broadway line

      Constructions Methods and Process

      As part of the design process, various construction techniques are being considered to build the project.

      Due to the geological profile along Second Avenue, the 106th Street/Second Avenue and 116th Street/Second Avenue stations will be built using the cut-and-cover construction method. The 116th Street/Second Avenue station is going to be built in an area where an existing tunnel segment was constructed in the 1970s. A portion of this tunnel will need to be reconstructed to build a new station and the rest will be renovated.

      The terminal station at 125th Street/Lexington Avenue will be built using mined and cut-and-cover methods as-needed.

      Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design, the Second Avenue Subway’s Phase 1 artworks together comprise the largest permanent art installation in New York history. These art installations represent the vibrance and cultural diversity of New York—a city continually on the move.


      Jean Shin – 63rd Street: Elevated, 2017, Laminated glass, glass mosaic, and ceramic tile

      Jean Shin’s installation, Elevated uses archival photographs of the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Elevated train to create compositions in ceramic tile, glass mosaic, and laminated glass. The imagery is manipulated and re-configured and each station level provides a unique focus, palette and material. At the 3rd Avenue escalator, the view is filled with ceramic tile depicting construction beams and the cranes that dismantled the El in the 1940s. At the 3rd Avenue mezzanine, a mosaic reveals the sky where the train had previously been present, and features images of people from the era in this neighborhood transformation. The platform level features semitransparent and reflective materials showing vintage scenes of the neighborhood, while enabling contemporary viewers to see themselves in the cityscape of the past.

      Vik Muniz – 72nd Street: Perfect Strangers, 2017, Glass mosaic and laminated glass

      Perfect Strangers by Vik Muniz features more than three dozen characters created in mosaic and installed throughout the mezzanine and entrance areas, populating the station with colorful images of all types of New Yorkers. The main station entrance features a laminated glass canopy at street level depicting a flock of birds, bringing art and nature to the busy location. Within the expanse of the mezzanine concourse, the life size figures provide bursts of color and visual interest and an opportunity for new discovery with every trip through the station.

      Chuck Close – 86th Street: Subway Portraits, 2017, Glass and ceramic mosaic, ceramic tile

      Chuck Close in Subway Portraits has created twelve large-scale works that are based on the artist’s painstakingly detailed photo-based portrait paintings and prints. His various painting techniques have been interpreted in ten works as mosaic, and in two as ceramic tile. The artworks measure close to nine feet high and are placed on the walls at the station entrances and the mezzanine concourse. The people portrayed are cultural figures that have frequently been his subjects, including Philip Glass, Zhang Huan, Kara Walker, Alex Katz, Cecily Brown, Cindy Sherman, and Lou Reed, as well as two distinct self-portraits.

      Sarah Sze – 96th Street: Blueprint for a Landscape, 2017, Porcelain tile

      Blueprint for a Landscape by Sarah Sze profoundly impacts the look of the station as her imagery is applied directly to nearly 4300 unique porcelain wall tiles, spanning approximately 14,000 square feet. The designs feature familiar objects – sheets of paper, scaffolding, birds, trees, and foliage – caught up in a whirlwind velocity that picks up speed and intensity as the composition unfolds throughout the station with references to energy fields and wind patterns. Each entrance features a different shade of blue and a blueprint-style vector line design, a visual theme that is integrated with the architecture.

      For further information on MTA Arts & Design and its art, visit

      1929 – First proposal for Second Avenue Subway introduced.

      1939 - 1945 Revised Second Avenue Subway proposal shelved as World War II begins.

      1972 - 1975 Federal funding granted to begin Second Avenue Subway but fiscal crisis in 1975 put project on hold.

      2004 – MTA proposes Second Avenue Subway line running from 125th Street to Lower Manhattan.

      2005 – November – New York State passes Transportation Bond Act, partially funding the construction of the line.

      2007 – April – Ceremonial groundbreaking at 96th Street Station.

      2007 – November – US Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announces $1.3 billion of federal funding for Phase I of the project.

      2010 – May – Completion of Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) launch box.

      2011 – March – With 65th Street tunnel complete, drilling begins for east tunnel.

      2011 – September – TMB completes its run to the 63rd Street Station.

      2013 – February – All controlled drill and blast excavation completed at 72nd Street Station.

      2013 – February – MTA Awards Contract to Build Second Avenue Subway Station Finishes at 72nd Street.

      2013 – June – MTA awards tenth and final contract to build Phase 1 of the project.

      2013 – July – 72nd Street muck house removal complete.

      2013 – July – Community Information Center opens at 1628 Second Avenue.

      2013 – November – Heavy Civil and Site Work completed at 96th Street.

      2013 – November – Blasting at 86th Street completed, marking the end of all blasting for Phase 1 of the project.

      2014 – January – Cavern Mining, Tunnels and Heavy Civil Work completed at 72nd Street.

      2014 – January – 69th Street muck house removal complete.

      2014 – February – Removal of worker "hoghouse" facility at 70th Street complete.

      2014 – April – 84th Street muck house removal complete.

      2014 – October – 86th Street muck house removal complete.

      2014 – December – Cavern Mining and Heavy Civil Work completed at 86th Street.

      2014 – December – Removal of worker "hoghouse" facility at 87th Street complete.

      2015 – May – Phase 1 is 82.3% complete

      2016 – April – Track installation completed

      2016 – July – All stations connected to permanent power

      2016 – September – Track geometry car inspection conducted

      2016 – October – New York City Transit begins pre-revenue service training; 63rd Street Plaza opens

      2017 – January 1 – New Second Avenue Subway begins revenue service

      Community Information Center exhibits make their online Debut

      Since opening in July of 2013, The Second Avenue Subway Community Information Center has welcomed more than 25,000 visitors, who among other activities, have explored the five interactive exhibits displayed there. For those who could not make the trip to the center, the first of the five exhibits, The History of the Second Avenue Subway: Transit More than 80 Years in the Making, can now be viewed online.

      The exhibit traces the history of the Second Avenue Subway from an idea in the 1920s through the planning and construction of Phase 1 and includes archival photos, videos, working documents, and news clippings. The exhibit highlights the many plans to build the line, including an effort in the 1970s that saw construction of tunnels in both lower Manhattan and East Harlem.

      To peruse the exhibit, click here: The History of the Second Avenue Subway: Transit More than 80 Years in the Making

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