Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-001

Rome was not built in a day, they say. And neither was New York City or its 24/7 subway system. All good things take time, and more so, when it cuts through some of the densest neighborhoods in America. On our fifth annual pilgrimage through the monumental construction site of the Second Avenue Subway, Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, president of the Capital Construction at MTA, led us through three new stations and 23 blocks of tunnels–from 63rd street to 86th street some 115 feet below Second Avenue.

The Second Avenue Subway, first envisioned at the peak of the roaring twenties (and first crushed by the Great Depression) is on track to open the first phase by December 2016.  “The $4.45 billion project is 82% complete” Dr. Horodniceanu announced, as we walked along the newly installed train tracks. “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,” he said with pride.

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-006

We began our tour at the 63rd and Lexington Avenue station extension, a spot we had visited before, and the progress was evident right away. The dramatic caverns we hiked through just two years ago have now been shaped into a robust subway system, with train tracks in most tunnels, gigantic ventilation ducts floating above the stations, and Signal rooms equipped with the Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) system.

The station walls are also being dressed in the iconic NYC subway tiles, a precursor to the colorful mosaics that will depict New York City’s dynamic culture and rich history. Phase One will add three new stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets while the existing station at 63rd and Lexington is also getting a makeover. Once opened, the Q train will be rerouted along this line. Arrangements have also been made to incorporate a new ‘T line’ in the future which is planned to run from 125th street and Second Avenue all the way to Hannover Square in the financial district. Here are more pictures from our stroll through the Second Avenue Subway construction:

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkarExpansion of the existing station at 63rd and Lexington

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-004Newly installed tracks along the tunnels between 63rd and 72nd street stations

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-007The ramp on the right will eventually carry the ‘T line’ when the second avenue subway extends into the third and fourth phase.

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-008Massive ventilation shafts floating above the 72nd street station will control air temperature, keeping the stations 10 degrees cooler in summer.

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-003Escalators connecting the mezzanine to the platform level are being installed at the 72nd Street station

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-010Column free spaces at the platform level

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-011North end of the 72nd street station heading into the tunnels.

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-016Communication room with the CBTC system

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-017One of the entrances leading passengers from the street level to the mezzanine level

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-013Tunnel between the 72nd and 86th street stations

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-014Tunnel between the 72nd and 86th street stations

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-015Shadows cast on the tunnels that will house a battery of escalators carrying passengers down to the mezzanine level.

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-002Mezzanine level of the 86th street station

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-009The massive tunnel slopes from the street level to the mezzanine level and will house three escalators

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-018The fabled Second Avenue Subway- 82.3 % complete!

Next, check out the updated MTA map that includes the Second Avenue Subway and listen to what the announcement will sound like on the new line. All photos by bhushan mondkar. Get in touch with him at @bhushan_NYC