New York tale: a century-old subway dream
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[January 02, 2017]
By David Ingram
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York subway ride
that was a century in the making will pull out of a gleaming new station
on Manhattan's East Side on Saturday as the long-awaited Second Avenue
line takes a select group of dignitaries and construction workers on its
First proposed in the 1920s, the Second Avenue line has achieved
near-mythic status over the years as the best transit idea that New York
never built. Work started and stopped three times for lack of funds
before the project finally got under way in earnest in April 2007.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Thomas Prendergast, chairman of the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that operates the
system, are presiding over the ceremonial opening of the first phase, a
modest two-mile (3.2-km) stretch along Manhattan's Upper East Side.
The launch party, which is by invitation only, takes place about 100
feet below street level starting around 10 p.m. on Saturday (0300 GMT on
Sunday). The general public can begin riding to and from any of three
new stations at noon Sunday.
Eventually the line will run 8.5 miles (13.7 km) from the uptown's
Harlem district to Wall Street in lower Manhattan, if current plans ever
come to fruition.
Compared with the entire subway system, the country's largest, the new
service is not extensive. Even so, for residents of the relatively
isolated East Side, the opening comes as a welcome and long-anticipated
"We've been waiting for this subway for a long time," said Lindsey
Goodman, 29, who works in real estate law and lives with her husband
Landon Goodman, also 29, a block from the new 86th Street stop. "We're
Cuomo, an ambitious Democrat who has been mentioned as a possible
presidential candidate, has taken on a visible role in pushing the
subway project along.
The governor, now in his second term of office, has made an emphasis on
big construction projects, including a replacement of the Tappan Zee
Bridge across the Hudson River north of New York City and major
renovations at LaGuardia Airport.
[to top of second column]
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo walks amongst visitors at the 96th
Street Station during a preview event for the Second Avenue subway
line in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 22, 2016.
The opening of the subway extension coincides with the incoming
administration of President-elect Donald Trump, who has pledged to
jump-start infrastructure projects through tax credits.
Cuomo has spoken with pride of art, including 12 portraits by
painter and photographer Chuck Close, that graces the walls of phase
one's three new stations at 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th
"Even if a child never walks into a museum ... they should be
exposed to art that gives them that aspect, that perspective and
that creativity," Cuomo said on NBC's "Today" show on Friday.
But the art is among a host of special features that have added to
the $4.5-billion cost of the first phase. The stations boast high
ceilings and wide platforms without support columns, among other
The new line is the second major expansion of the system, which
started in 1904, in as many years. In September 2015, the MTA
christened a one-mile (1.6 km) extension of the 7 line from its
former terminus in Times Square to Hudson Yards, on Manhattan's
long-neglected Far West Side. The cost was $2.4 billion.
(Additional reporting and writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Frank
McGurty and Nick Zieminski)
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