Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009

Here's a copy of the Second Avenue Subway Project "Report Card" that Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assemblyman Micah Kellner and City Council Members Jessica Lappin and Dan Garodnick released on Friday, September 25th.

The "report card" gives the MTA an overall grade of "B-" in connection with its performance on the project.


Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
Second Avenue Subway Report Card

On April 12, 2007, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) celebrated the most recent groundbreaking for the Second Avenue Subway. At the time I expressed the wishful hope that the fourth groundbreaking on this project would be the charm. And it still may be, but there’s been a lot of sobering news since we celebrated the subway line’s most recent resurgence.

At groundbreaking, the plan was for the subway line to be completed in 2013, with three tracks at 72nd street and at a cost of $3.8 billion. Today, the MTA and the Federal Transit Adminstration (FTA) are discussing whether the subway will open in 2016 or 2018, projected costs are now estimated at $4.4 billion and we’ve lost the third track. Meanwhile, construction is having a dramatic impact on local businesses, residents and traffic. Roughly two and a half years into construction, it is time to take a look at the project and see how well the MTA is doing. Just as the City has found that report cards help evaluate the schools, this report card is intended to gain a better understanding of how the MTA is doing in moving forward with construction. This is a mid-term report, and the MTA has plenty of time to make up for early deficiencies.


Project Merit: A+

All the reasons that led the FTA to consider this project one of the best in the nation remain strong factors. The subway will relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line, which continues to be the most overcrowded subway in the nation. When it is completed, it is expected to carry roughly 202,000 passengers a day, more than any other new start project in the nation. New Yorkers continue to rely on mass transit to commute to work, more than any other area of the country, and the Second Avenue Subway will provide much needed capacity on a system that has not grown in more than half a century.

Economic Benefits: A+

The Second Avenue Subway is creating 16,000 jobs, most of which are well-paid union jobs. At a time when the construction industry is slowing down, infrastructure construction like the Second Avenue Subway provides a vital source of income for thousands of construction workers. It has generated $842 million in wages and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity. Economists like Mark Zandi tell us that every dollar spent on public infrastructure increases GDP by an estimate $1.59. Using that formula, the Second Avenue Subway will generate nearly $7 billion in GDP.

Communication with the Public: B+

The MTA has held numerous public hearings during the environmental review portion of the project, and before property takings were approved. The MTA has also worked with Community Board 8, and other community boards, and has participated in Second Avenue Subway Task Force Meetings at least quarterly. As construction moves forward, they have agreed to attend meetings as frequently as monthly. In addition, the MTA has attended frequent meetings of the Second Avenue Business Association, and has worked with the City to mitigate impacts relating to sanitation, signage, traffic, utilities disruption and other matters. The MTA has hired Claudia Wilson who received plaudits at a recent Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force Meeting for her availability and her willingness to solve individual problems. The MTA has also been willing to meet with local residents to resolve individual concerns relating to particular buildings. Nonetheless, despite these efforts, many community residents seem to know little about the project until construction begins in their neighborhood. Further, some details have not become public until it was considered too late to address the problem. For example, residents of buildings adjacent to ancillary facilities are being told that their windows will be covered by the new buildings. The likelihood was long known, but the MTA never told the neighbors until the designs were finalized.


Planning: B-

The Second Avenue Subway is a complex project, and it requires a lot of coordination to bring all of the elements together. It is surprising, therefore, to find that there has been so little progress in two and a half years. Anyone with experience in New York City’s streets knows that there are few roadmaps for utility pipes, and that there are surprises. The MTA says it lost several months on the tunnel launch box because of where utilities were located. Delays of this type should have been expected and built into the schedule. Further, the MTA should have investigated the structural integrity of local buildings long before masonry started falling. If there had been better coordination between the MTA and city agencies, blasting would not have been delayed in order to allow adjacent building to be appropriately shored up. All of this should have been done much earlier in the process.

Construction Management: B-

The MTA is working on many large projects simultaneously and it needs to ensure that this project is getting the attention it deserves. The 7 train extension (which does not need federal approvals and is being constructed in a less dense area) began long after the Second Avenue Subway, and the tunnel boring machine is already in the ground. The MTA has recently taken steps to pull up its grade by getting permission of the MTA board to allocate federal funding so that contracts can be bid more quickly. It has broken contracts into smaller chunks to allow for more competitive bidding to bring costs down. It has created a schedule of contracts so that the public can follow its progress to make sure that contracts are being bid on time.

Mitigation of Construction Impact: C

The MTA seems to want to try to mitigate the impact of construction on local residents and businesses. They have been diligent in meeting with local businesses. They have hired people who genuinely appear to want to work with the community to address individual concerns, and some members of the community have complimented their efforts. They have reduced the number of buildings they have condemned to limit the number of people who will be losing their homes. They have created a Shop Second Avenue campaign to try to drive customers to affected businesses. Unfortunately, more than a dozen businesses have closed along the subway’s construction zone despite these efforts.

On Time Record: C

When this project went into Final Design, the MTA was projecting a completion date of 2012. By the time the project broke ground, they projected a completion date of 2014. This summer, the MTA began projecting a 2016 completion date. Some argue that the project will not be finished until 2018. Others suggest that the MTA could get its act together and move forward more aggressively, finishing earlier than December 2016. There’s a lot of room for improvement here.

Staying on Budget: C

When the full funding grant agreement was signed, this project was supposed to cost $3.8 billion. Today, the MTA is projecting $4.4 billion. It’s not going to be easy to find the extra funds, particularly when there are so many other competing projects. The longer this project takes, the more it will cost. The MTA is taking advantage of the dip in the economy to bring some of the costs down, and it has scrapped plans for a three track system to reduce costs further. But unless the MTA meets its projections, it will be very hard to find the resources to complete this project.

Progress Toward Completion: C-

Thus far the MTA has bid 3 of 11 contracts. It has completed some of the preparatory work for the tunnel launch box, including building the slurry wall, but no blasting has begun. Thus far there has been no tunnel dug, no shafts completed, no station entrances built, and no ancillary facilities built. It’s early in the project and preparatory work does need to be done before we should expect to see tangible results. Two and a half years into construction, we hoped for greater progress.


Overall Grade: B-

The Second Avenue Subway is crucial to the economic future of New York. It needs to be built. The MTA has an ambitious construction schedule, and it needs to put its full attention to making sure that this project is moving forward with all deliberate speed. Up until now, the project has been marred by missed deadlines, cost overruns and a harsh impact on local businesses. There is a lot of room for improvement, but also the possibility that the project is now starting to gain momentum.


And here's a link to the story that Pete Donohue, of the New York Daily News, filed last Saturday, September 26th, on the report:
"2nd Ave. Subway May be Delayed, Again, and Gets B-minus in Report"

In the story the Daily News also reports that the MTA Inspector General's office has now opened an "all encompassing" review of the delays and cost overruns.

One could assume that the MTA's Inspector General got in to the act after Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released this press release - back on July 22nd when he called for the Inspector General to, "open an immediate investigation of what has caused this latest delay."

- - -

In other news,

The MTA confirmed, at last week's Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force meeting, that plans for blasting inside the TBM launch box are temporarily on hold.

They have also posted this notice on their "Construction Look Ahead" web page:



Controlled blasting activities are temporarily on hold due to stabilization work that is required to correct pre-existing structural deficiencies in buildings located at 1766/68 Second Avenue. Controlled blasting activities will begin once the New York City Department of Buildings has determined that the required stabilization work has been completed. This work is expected to be completed by the end of October. During this time, rock excavation will continue by mechanical means and all current contracts, including the two recently awarded contracts, will continue to proceed.

When blasting activities are ready to occur, we will post signs and follow the procedures outlined above.


Here's a link to the story that Jessica Simeone and Tom Namako,
of the NY Post, filed on September 25th:
"Second Ave. On Snail Rail: Shaky Bldgs. A Drag On Dig"

The two problem buildings are 1776-68 Second Avenue and 1772 Second Avenue.

The mixed-use building at 1776-68 (also known 301 East 92nd Street, since the building sits on a corner) has been empty since it was evacuated by the NYC Department of Buildings back on June 29th because it was in danger or collapsing.

The Department of Building's Vacate order on 1772 Second Avenue was partially rescinded on August 14th. This action allowed all of the residential tenants to return to their apartments, after being forced out for two months.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23, 2009

Here are two short videos that I found on YouTube of work inside the Tunnel Boring Machine Launch Box (i.e. underneath the road decking) in the 90s.

I'm going to assume that these were taken by one of the contractors on the work site.

UPDATE 9/24/09, 10:50 PM ET
I'm sorry to report that the following two videos
are no longer viewable on YouTube.

"2nd Ave Tunnel" (0:55)
YouTube - 9/23/09

"2nd Ave Subway Big Dig" (0:31)
YouTube - 9/22/09

And after looking around YouTube a bit I found this recent video:

"Subway 0001" (3:54)
By Shannon Boodhoo
YouTube - 9/23/09
"The effects of the Second Avenue construction on businesses and the neighborhood on Manhattan's Upper East Side."

Here's a listing of the recent additions
to the right-hand column of The Launch Box

Archived Listing of News Links that are more than 2 month old

Archived listing of Video & Audio Links that are more than 2 months old

Various Reports
I've added a new section now for published reports and papers on the project. MTA produced reports will continue to be posted under the "MTA Links" section.

"Design of Large and Shallow Caverns of
the New York Second Avenue Subway"

North American Tunneling 2008 Proceedings,
Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration

"Rock Tunnels for the Second Avenue Subway"
North American Tunneling - 2006

"Design challenges of New York's largest public works
project of the decade - Second Avenue Subway"

North American Tunneling - 2006

"Baseline Reports MTA New York City Transit's Perspective in
the Design of Deep Underground Facilities"

North American Tunneling - 2006

Monday, September 21, 2009

Second Avenue Subway Construction in the 1970s

With this posting, I'm going to take a look back to the Second Avenue subway construction work that was done in the 1970s.

But before I focus of the 1970s, I thought it would be useful to provide a very brief overview of the plans for the Second Avenue subway, that have been around since the late 1920s.

The first formal plan, in 1929, called for the construction of a 4-track Second Avenue Trunk Line, that would run from Houston Street to the Harlem River - with 6 tracks between 61st and 125th Streets. All of this was to be built at a cost $87,600,000 (in 1929 dollars).[1] The stock market crashed in October of 1929 and the project never got off the drawing board.

The plan gathered dust until the 1940s when it was revised and introduced again. The New York City Board of Estimate approved $500,000,000 for the project on September 13, 1951.[2]

Work was to have begun in the fall of 1952, but that was not to be. In the end, most of the funds that had been allocated for the new line of Second Avenue were used to maintain and modernize the then-current system.

In early 1968, the city proposed [again] that the Second Avenue subway be built, as part of a larger plan to expand service in Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx.[3]

The Board of Estimate approved construction of the full Second Avenue subway, and 11 other new transit lines, on September 20, 1968 - with construction to begin within in the next 10 years. The Board of Estimate, at the same time, changed the New York City Transit Authority's Second Avenue subway plan from a four-track line to a two-track-line.[4] The project was then delayed - until 1970 - by a controversy over an extension of the route to the financial district.[5]

In August of 1970 the Transit Authority (TA) awarded an $11.5 million contract to the engineering consulting firm DeLeuw, Cather & Co., for the design of the full Second Avenue subway. It was estimated that the section from 34th to 125th Streets would cost $151 million, in 1970 dollars.[5]

In 1970 The New York Times reported,"In approving the contract, Mayor Lindsay said that the design work should be completed in about 18 months and construction finished [for the section between 34th and 125th Streets] by 1976. A target date of 1979 has been set for the completion of the entire Second Avenue subway beyond 125th and 34th Streets."[5]

In August of 1970, the TA proposed a new plan for the Second Avenue subway - with a station stop at 72nd Street, but no stop at 96th Street. The revised cost for construction, for the section from 34th to 125 Streets, was now estimated at $371 million, in 1971 dollars.[6]

By late 1971, the TA agreed to provide a stop at 96th Street, after intense pressure from the community.[7]

In September 1972, the TA awarded the first Second Avenue subway construction contract to the firm Slattery Associates of Maspeth, Queens. The contract, with a low bid of $17,480,266, covered construction of section 11 of the project, from 99th to 105th Street.[8]

Ground was finally broken for the Second Avenue subway on October 27, 1972, near 103rd Street. This groundbreaking marked the start of construction for the section between 99th and 105th Streets.[9]

Ground was broken again on October 25, 1973, for a downtown section of the project. This time the groundbreaking took place at the Canal Street end of Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown. "Committed to a 1980 completion date, the city, Mayor Lindsey said, will undertake various sections of the line, knowing that it has Federal help to finish them."[10]

And ground was broken yet again - this time at Second Street in the East Village - for another section of the project, on July 25, 1974.[11]

At the height of the construction effort in the 1970s there were 27 blocks under various stages of construction:
- Chatham Square to Canal Street
(Horn-Kiewit Construction Co. JV, $8,300,000)
- 2nd Street to 9th Street (Slattery Associates)
- 99th Street to 105th Street (Slattery Associates, $17,480,266)
- 110th Street to 120th Street (Cayuga-Crimmins, $34,450,000) [11]

A contract for the section between 50th and 54th Streets was awarded in 1974, but apparently construction was never started.[11]

(continued below)

And here are a few pictures of the actual construction work, which I came across during a visit to the New York Transit Museum archives earlier this year.

Please Note:
The images shown below may not be reused in any format
without the written consent of the
New York Transit Museum.
The caption under each picture was provided to me
by the Transit Museum.

Photograph shows subway construction on the Second Avenue Subway at the corner of 111th Street and Second Avenue looking Southeast. Workers are digging in hole, 5/11/1973
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of subway construction on Second Avenue Line. Photograph shows excavation of east side of Second Avenue looking South from 111th Street, 11/19/1975
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

Aerial view of intersection of Second Avenue and 115th Street looking North showing construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Photograph shows construction crane over opening in street and temporary wood planks covering roadway. 6/11/1974
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of Crimmins trailer in vacant lot on 112th Street near site of Second Avenue Subway construction, 7/19/1973
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

(Crimmins was one of the contractors for the section between 110th and 120th Streets.)

Aerial view of Second Avenue looking North from 113th Street showing construction on the Second Avenue Subway, 5/5/1976
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of Second Avenue and 112th Street showing construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Photograph shows workers in trench working on 12-inch pipe, 7/19/1973
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

Aerial view of Second Avenue Subway looking South from 115th Street showing construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Photograph shows trenches cut in street and temporary wood planks covering roadway, 4/4/1974
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

A New York Times article, in 1973, said about the subway construction:
"under Second Avenue between 98th and 99th Streets, for example, the crews recently found: one 30-inch and two 10-inch gas mains; a four foot water main and a 12-inch water main; and a box sewer three and one-half by two and one-third feet; 16 three-and-one-half-inch ducts for electrical wires along with 43 three-inch ducts; 64 three-inch ducts for telephones and 30 four-inch ones.

In addition they found footings for the old El; house connections for sewers, water and gas; cables for street-light poles, cables for traffic lights, cables for fire alarm-system boxes, cables for police call boxes and Transit Authority cables"[12]
(Which is basically what the contractors building the current version of the Second Avenue subway are dealing with today.)

Photograph documents construction on the Second Avenue Subway. View of tunnel looking South from beam 256, 12/1/1975
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

(The Tunnel Boring Machine Launch Box in the 90s [under the road decking] will soon look something like this.)

View of tunnel showing construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Photograph shows view from beam 138 looking North, 6/2/1975
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of tunnel looking South from beam 90 showing sewer pipe, 12/1/1975
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

Photograph documents construction of the Second Avenue Subway. View of tunnel looking South from beam 230, 11/19/1975
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of tunnel showing roof beam 245 looking North. Photograph documents construction on the Second Avenue Subway, 5/5/1976
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of tunnel showing construction on the Second Avenue Subway. Photograph shows tunnel looking North from beam 180, 10/28/1975
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

View of subway construction on West side of Second Avenue between 115th and 116th Streets showing trench and utility lines. Photograph documents construction of Second Avenue Subway, 1/30/1978
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

The date of this image, very late in the project, would suggest that newly constructed tunnels have been covered over and the contractor is the process of restoring the utility lines and road surface.

Photograph documents construction on the Second Avenue Subway. View of East track at 112th Street looking North, 8/13/1976.
Courtesy of New York Transit Museum

(You can left-click on any image for a larger view.)

By 1974, just two years after ground was first broken, cost overruns and the city's fiscal crises were starting to have a significant effect on the project.

On December 12 [1974] Mayor Beame proposed that $5.1 billion in Federal, state and city funds be reassigned - for modernization of the existing routes, stabilization of the fare and construction of some new routes - but not along Second Avenue.[13]

By September of 1975 the mayor ordered the TA to terminate work on one of the four active contracts. The New York Times reported that the mayor's action was taken due to the unavailability of funds that had been promised by the state. Then in December [1975] the TA released a six-year transit construction plan, which included no further funding for the Second Avenue Subway. Work was to be completed on the four segments that were already under construction, and then they were to be sealed. [14]

Governor Mario Cuomo made an attempt to get the project moving again, in the early 1990s, when he proposed spending $22 million to prepare designs and plans for renewed construction of the line. However, the $22 million was cut from the MTA's 5-year construction plan in 1993.[15]

And so the old tunnels, built in the 1970s for a Second Avenue subway that has been decades waiting to leave the station, still sit today waiting for a train.

For Further Information:

"Second Avenue Subway" - an on-line exhibit
New York Transit Museum

"Second Avenue Subway: Bumpy Road Ahead"
New York - 2/8/1971

"The Saga of the 2nd Avenue Subway" (8:00)
The 51st State [Episode 24]
Transportation in New York
Thirteen/WNET - 1975

"Is That Finally the Sound of a 2nd Ave. Subway?"
The New York Times - 4/9/2007
Includes a multimedia video that talks about the various groundbreakings over the years.

Completed Portions of the 2nd Ave. Subway


1. "100 Miles of Subway in New City Project; 52 of Them in Queens - Second Av. Trunk Line to Be Hub, Linking With Bronx and New River Tubes to East". (September 16, 1929). The New York Times. p. 1

2. Crowell, Paul. (August 18, 1952). "City's Huge Debt May Delay Start of 2d Ave. Subway". The New York Times. p. 1

3. Witkin, Richard. (January 2, 1968). "Routes Outlined for New Subways". The New York Times. p. 1

4. King, Seth S. (September 21, 1968). "City Approves 2d Ave. Subway And 11 Other New Transit Lines". The New York Times. p.1

5. "Design Pact Set for New Subway - $11.6-Million Contract Let on Plans for 2d Ave. Line" (August 17, 1970). The New York Times. p. 56

6. Frial, Frank J. (August 28, 1971). "M.T.A. Adds a Stop, 72nd St., To Its 2d Avenue Subway Plans". The New York Times. p.29

7. Spiegel, Irving. (October 4, 1972). "M.T.A. Agress to Station at 96th St. on 2d Ave. Line". The New York Times. p. 1

8. "Slattery Is Low In Bid On Subway". (September 14, 1972). The New York Times. p. 34

"Rockefeller and Lindsey Break Ground for 2d Avenue Subway". (October 28, 1972). The New York Times. Sec. Sports, p. 35

10. Burks, Edward C. (October 25, 1973). "Ground Is Broken for 2d Ave. Link". The New York Times. p. 51

11. Burks, Edward C. (July 26, 1974). "Beame and Wilson Man the Jackhammers To Start 4th Segment of 2d Ave. Subway". The New York Times. p. 10

12. Seigel, Max H. (February 18, 1973). "Network of Uncharted Utility Lines is Found in Digging for 2d Ave. Subway". The New York Times. Sec. GN, p. 69

13. Montgomery, Paul L. (January 10, 1975). "2d Ave. Tunnelers Push On, Despite Potential Futility". The New York Times. p. 78

14. Burks, Edward C. (September 26, 1975). "Work Is Stopped on Subway Line - City Lacks Funds to Finish Part of 2d Ave. Project". The New York Times, p. 41

15. Finder, Alan. (April 19, 1994).
"A Tunnel Waiting Two Decades for a Train; Shafts for the Second Avenue Subway Are Maintained, in Case the Line Is Ever Built". The New York Times. p. B1

Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 3, 2009

9/1/09 at 7.35 AM
btw. 92nd & 93rd - looking E
Excavation of the TBM launch box started in early July, around the time that the contractors installed the last piece of the road decking.

Most of what they will remove is soil but there is a large section of bedrock (in the southern portion of the work zone) that will need to be broken up and removed too.

Back in June the MTA announced that they planned to take out the bedrock using a "controlled blasting" technique. But now any chance that blasting will be used has been delayed by concern over the stability of some of the buildings near 92nd street - in particular the residential buildings at 1768 and 1772 Second Avenue. (Both of these residential buildings were evacuated by the NYC Department of Buildings about eight weeks ago.)

The newspaper Our Town published an article, "2nd Ave. Subway Delays" (by Dan Rivoli) yesterday that addressed this issue in more detail. The article says that no blasting will take place until the two evacuated buildings are shored up, to the satisfaction of the Department of Buildings.

The NYC Fire Department's explosives unit also confirmed for me that no permits have been issued for blasting for the Second Avenue Subway. (as of 9/2/09)

So for the time being the contractors will [only] be able to use jackhammers to chip away at the bedrock below -- as you can clearly hear on most days, if you walk near the corner of 92nd and 2nd Avenue.

Traffic on 2nd Avenue wasn't stopped when I took this picture, even thought it may seem like it was. I just waited for the traffic light (on my left) to turn red before taking the picture.

In this shot you can get an idea just how far down the machine is "reaching" to scoop up a pile of soil and rocks. If I had to guess, I'd say that the floor level (at this location) is about 30 feet deep, at the moment.


92nd, SE corner
These two rocks were pulled out of the hole a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why they are sitting near the sidewalk - but maybe they need to be tested.

93rd - looking N
It's been a while since I last posted a set of new pictures on the blog, so I thought it would be a good idea to provide a few large format stitched images - so people can see what the site looks like at the moment.

(left-click on either image for a full view of these two stitched images.)

93rd - looking S

btw. 92nd & 93rd - looking S
Steel pipes with hoses attached to them have been laid along the east side of the work site, between 92nd and 94th.

This network of pipes, hoses and storage tanks is being used to remove any water may collect in the work area below. (e.g. rain water, water from old streams that were once in the area, and other ground water that may be present.)

same location - looking N

An example of the valve network that is used to regulate the flow in these pipes and hoses.

93rd, NE corner
Here the NYC Sanitation Department has installed a garbage drop-off box.

The only problem is that the slots in the side are a bit too small for the larger trash bags that some people use.

95th, near the SW corner
I was happy to stumble across this scene on my way home the other day. Here it looks like NYC has decided to move this tree, that is near the new work zone north of 95th, rather than cut it down.

- - -

A new set of contractors started work last month, in the area between 95th and 101th Streets, as part of Contract 2A of the project.

Over the next 43 months, or so, E.E. Cruz - Tully Construction Joint Venture will build a new tunnel that will connect the new 96th Street Station with the existing 2nd Avenue subway tunnel that ends at 101st Street (built in the 1970s), as well as many other sections of the new 96th Street station.

I found this logo of theirs on the side of a piece of equipment.

95th, in the plaza near the NW corner - looking N
Here the new contractors have setup a yard for their equipment.

Another view of the same yard. (Yes, it's basically the same view as the image above, but I liked the bike rack and the shadows in this image.)

96th, NW corner - looking E
The M15 bus stop, that was near this corner, has been moved to a location between 93rd and 94th.

96th, SE corner - looking E
Hundreds of sections of concrete conduit are lined up here, waiting to be used at the work site.

96th, NW corner - looking N
The sidewalk here has been reduced to a 7 foot width at this location.

between 96th and 97th, east side - looking N

- - -

Council Member Daniel Garodnick's office provided me with a copy of a letter (shown below) that the President of MTA Capital Construction sent to the East Side Coalition of Elected Officials, on July 27, 2009.

The letter addresses concerns that the Coalition of East Side Elected Officials have with the structural stability of the buildings alongside the Second Avenue Subway construction between 92nd and 96th Streets.

The MTA says, in this letter, that they documented the problems with buildings on 2nd Avenue, between 92nd and 95th Streets, before the work started in 2007 -- and that these problems were reported to the NYC Department of Buildings for their review.

They imply, in their letter, that the building at 1772 Second Avenue was evacuated by the DOB on 6/5/09 because the building owners did not resolve known structural problems with the building.

They drew the same conclusion with the building at 1768 Second Avenue, which was evacuated by the DOB on 6/29/09 -- i.e. the owner failed to maintain their building.

Then at the end of the letter the MTA says that they are looking to see if, "additional measures or instrumentation monitoring is required as construction progresses." (i.e. like the instrumentation that was documented in the posting "July 13, 2009 - Retroreflectors Everywhere.")

The MTA's letter was prompted by this letter (shown below) from the Coalition of East Side Elected Officials to the President of MTA Capital Construction and the Manhattan Borough Commissioner for the NYC Department of Buildings.

I'm told that the DOB has not reacted to this letter, as of 9/1/09.

And with this picture you get an idea just how much the building at 1768 Second Avenue (one of the building that the DOB evacuated) is leaning.

92nd, about 30 feet east of the NE corner - looking west
If you left-click on the image and compare the edge of the leaning building (on the right) with the windows of the apartment building (which is across 2nd Avenue) you can clearly see what's going on.

According the violation that was issued by the NYC Department of Buildings on 6/30/09, this structure is leaning to the north, approximately 18 inches out of plumb -- which is a lot!

- - -

The MTA announced on their web site that construction work will start in the area between 82nd and 87th Streets next week.

So with this new start the MTA will have contractors working in four separate work areas on Second Avenue:

69th to 73rd Streets: S3 Tunnel Constructors

82nd to 87th Streets: J. D'Annunzio & Sons, Inc.

91st to 96th Streets: S3 Tunnel Constructors

95th to 101st Streets: E.E. Cruz - Tully Construction JV

Details of the planned work in each of the 4 work areas, for the next 3 weeks, can be found on the MTA's "Construction Look Ahead" web page.

- - -

Here's a listing of the recent additions
to the right-hand column of The Launch Box

"NYC Public Advocate Gotbaum Calls on City,
State, and MTA to Assist Affected Business Owners"

Office of the Public Advocate for the City of New York. Press Release - 8/19/09

Businesses Along Second Avenue
Subway Continue to Struggle"

Epoch Times - 8/19/09

"City PA Calls For Business Aid Along Second Avenue" (2:00)
NY1 News - 8/18/09

Contract Packaging
(under the MTA Links section)
This new section includes an unofficial listing of each of the Second Avenue Subway Phase One contracts. The listing also includes publicly available details about each contract.

Announced completion dates for
Phase One of the Second Avenue Subway

This listing has now been updated -- with announced completion dates ranging from 2012 to 2018.

It also includes a listing of announced completion dates from the 1970s - when the MTA first attempted to build the Second Avenue Subway.

And the Store That Have Closed section
has been updated with the following changes:

1742 Second Avenue
Now under renovation

1751 Second Avenue
Closed in early August. (was the East Side Pharmacy)
Re-opened in late August as Best Pet Rx (a pet supply shop)

1760 Second Avenue
Now under renovation.

247 East 94th Street
Re-opened as Unisex Hair Salon

Also, at
303 East 92nd Street
A note on the door says that the Tony C. Laundromat & Dry Cleaners will be moving to 301 East 95th Street. (Their shop on 92nd Street was closed when the DOB ordered the evacuation of 1768 Second Avenue.)

And a final note:
I you want to add this blog to your list of
Favorites / Bookmarks be sure to use this link:

so you always land on the homepage of The Launch Box.