Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010

btw. 72nd and 73rd - looking SW

Here you can see the outline of what will become an access shaft for the Second Avenue subway project. This shaft, and similar one near 69th Street, will be used as access points for the construction of the new 72nd Street station.

The MTA has recently announced that controlled blasting activities (for the two access shafts in this area) is now scheduled to start on or about Monday, February 8, 2010.

A copy of the MTA's blasting notice can be found on this link:
MTA Notification of Controlled Blasting - 69th to 73rd streets

The plan shown above, which was presented by S3 Tunnel Constructors at the Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force meeting on 1/26/10, details the existing work area between 69th and 73rd streets on Second Avenue.

On the plan one can see the location of the access shafts that are under construction.

btw. 69th and 70th - looking SW

And here is a view of the site where the other access shaft will be built.

These would appear to be the steel beams that will be used to construct the structural frame for the access shaft near 69th Street.

btw. 82nd and 83rd - looking S

All of the orange fencing that was setup around the work area between 82nd and 88th streets (that I highlighted in my posting on December 6, 2009) has now been replaced with wire fencing.

I'm not sure why this was done -- maybe for aesthetic reasons or possibly because the wire mesh is more secure than the orange plastic fencing that was there before.

near 84th - looking N

btw. 83rd & 84th

If you look closely at this hole you can see the layers that form the surface of the street - including what appears to be an old layer of cobblestones.

87th - SE corner - looking W

92nd - SE corner - looking W

On most mornings when I walk by this spot workers can be seen filling bags with gravel.

btw. 96th and 95th - looking S

The wooden railing shown here was installed by the contractors a few weeks ago. I would assume that it was setup to assist the people who live in the Carnegie East House senior residence that is located on the east side of Second Avenue in this block.

btw. 93rd and 94th - looking W

The hut that is shown, with a door that I assume can be locked, was setup a few weeks ago - after it was discovered that at least one person had illegally accessed the site early one morning.

This door provides workers with access to a set of stairs that leads to the floor of the launch box, 65 feet down.


Here's a set of pictures of the work that's been taking place under the Second Avenue road decking.

The pictures were included in the presentation that S3 Tunnel Constructors made at last weeks meeting of the Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force.

under 92nd ? - looking S

under 94th ? - looking S

under 94th - looking N

under 94th ?

under 94th ? - looking N

Photo credits: S3 Tunnel Constructors

A complete copy of the 65-page presentation, which includes design details for the 63rd Street station can be found on this link:
CB8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force presentation - 1/26/10
(Note that this is a 10 Mb PDF file, so it may take some time to open.)


And now we return the continuing story of the building at 1766/1768 Second Avenue, which is also known as 301/303 East 92nd Street.


This mixed-use building, which is owned by the entity 1766-68 Associates L.P., was evacuated by order of the Department of Buildings about seven months ago, on 6/29/09. The DOB had determined at that time that the structure was in immediate danger of collapse. Thirty-one apartments and three businesses were effected by the DOB's Full Vacate order.

Now fast forward to the January 2010 MTA Board meeting that was held on 1/27/10.

As part of this meeting, MTA Capital Construction (MTACC) formally requested that the MTA Board authorize an additional $785,000 for Contract C-26002 (Second Avenue Tunnels 92nd Street to 63rd Street) - to cover the cost to stabilize the building at 1766/1768 Second Avenue.

Here is a copy of the justification that MTA Capital Construction prepared for the for the MTA Board meeting:


The contract is for the construction of two bored tunnels from 92nd Street to 63rd Street, including the construction of access shafts at 69th Street and 72nd Street and construction of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) launch box between 91st and 95th Streets.

The building at 1766/1768 Second Avenue is adjacent to the TBM launch box work site. Before contract award, the building was leaning out of plumb between 18 and 24 inches.

The NYC Department of Buildings (NYCDOB) issued an emergency declaration directing the building owner to stabilize the building and, in June 2009, ordered the owner to vacate the building.

A comprehensive design was developed by the owner's engineer and approved by NYCDOB for structural ties as a short-term means to stabilize the structure, followed by construction of an interior masonry core structure and 'additional ties for long-term remediation.

However, the owner did not start the work. Instead, on September 3, 2009, the building owner filed a notice of claim asserting that the entire stabilization work is required as a consequence of vibrations anticipated during the excavation of the TBM launch box.

Since NYCDOB will not permit excavation of the TBM launch box until the building is stabilized, delays in stabilizing the building create day-for-day impactable delays of the contract, with impact costs estimated at $30,000 to $60,000 per day.

While its legal claim is pending, the building owner will not perform or bear the cost of the stabilization work.

Since the essence of the building owner's claim is for MTACC to pay for the stabilization, MTACC offered to perform the short-term work required by NYCDOB to stabilize the building sufficiently to allow excavation and bracing of the TBM launch box between 91st and 92nd Streets.

On September 18, 2009, MTACC and the building owner executed a legal agreement under which the MTACC contractor is permitted to enter the building and perform such work, with the condition that MTACC bears the cost of that short-term stabilization work and the building owner reserves its right to pursue its claim regarding the remaining long-term stabilization work, which NYCDOB requires prior to re-occupancy of the building.

On September 23, 2009, the President of MTACC approved a retroactive waiver and MTACC directed the contractor to proceed the same day.

The contractor's proposal was $877,908. MTACC's revised estimate was $741,358. The lump sum price of $785,000 was agreed upon and has been found to be fair and reasonable.

The delay associated with this modification is due to the Contractor's inability to perform blasting operations which were delayed from August 18, 2009 until a blasting permit was issued on November 4, 2009, a period of 38 working days.

The potential impact cost for this delay is approximately $1.1M to $2.2M which is based on a $30,000 to $60,000 per day impact.

This delay will be addressed in a separate future modification.


I'll let the statement above from MTA Capital Construction stand on it's own, without further comment, for the moment.

If you wish to read an original copy of MTA Capital Construction's statement then click on this link:
January 2010 MTA Board Action Items - page 164
(Please note that the file size is is 27.7 Mb.)


In other news, the Taco Bell restaurant at 1825 Second Avenue (btw. 94th and 95th) went out of business in mid-January.

The total number of store fronts that have closed in the Second Avenue Subway Construction Business Zone Area (btw. 91st and 95th streets), since April 2007 when construction started, now stands at eighteen (18).

On a positive note - the store front at
1844 2nd Avenue (btw. 95th and 96th) looks like it's finally about to re-open, as Carnegie Hill Chemists. This location, which was The Carnegie Pharmacy, was closed back in April 2008.

You can find a complete overview on this link:
Store fronts that have closed

1825 Second Avenue (btw. 94th and 95th)

1844 2nd Avenue (btw. 95th and 96th)
UPDATE: This location re-opened
as Carnegie Hill Chemists
on February 1, 2010


A footnote:

For those that are interested - I'm now using a Canon PowerShot G11 camera. (effective with my posting on 1/29/10). After five years using a Canon PowerShot S70 I decided that it was time to upgrade to a newer piece of technology.

So far I'm thrilled with the quality of the images that I'm getting out of the Canon G11, especially those that I've taken in low light conditions.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Out in the Cold

These images were taken on Friday evening between 8 and 9 PM, when the combination of temperature and wind speed made it feel like it was about 4 degrees outside.

I had walked by the work site earlier in the evening as I hurried home to get out of the cold - but when I saw that the men were still working, on this very cold night, I decided to venture out again to capture a set of images for the blog.

What follows is a set of black and white images of men working at the TBM launch box site between 91st and 95th streets.

92nd, SE corner - looking SW

Standing besides Delizia's as a frigid commuter briskly makes her way home.

The crane in the background is dutifully removing bucket loads of recently blasted rock from the work area that is down below the street level.

btw. 92nd and 93rd - looking N

The work area, as well as the surrounding apartment buildings, were brightly lit by high intensity artificial lamps.

Load after load of rock is lifted and released into the waiting trucks.

btw. 91st and 92nd, looking E

I'd hate to be someone living in these buildings - with the sound and light from the active construction right in your apartment most evenings, like a visitor who has stayed too long.

On a positive note, the subway contractors can't work past 10 PM. It's expected that they will be finished excavating the launch box in about a month.

92nd, just east of the NE corner - looking SW

Another view of the zone. When you look at the picture, you can almost feel how cold it was on this evening.

same location - looking W

btw. 92nd and 93rd - looking NW

93rd - looking S

btw. 93rd and 94th - looking N

Looking down a sidewalk passageway that looks more like an uninviting corridor.

btw. 93rd and 94th - looking E

At a second location, soil (instead of rock) is being removed from the site by the truck load.

94th, NW corner - looking S

Trucks lining up, each waiting to receive its load of rocks or soil before rumbling off into the night.


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

"Second Avenue Subway hit with lawsuit"
The Real Deal - 1/26/10

Second Ave. coop files suit over ventilation structures
2nd Ave. Sagas - 1/26/10

Monthly Project Report - Second Avenue Subway
MTA Capital Construction - 1/25/10

Vanshnookenraggen Blog


A footnote:

As some readers may know, this blog was included in Roy Edroso's feature article "I Blog New York: Your Guide to Gotham's Best" in The Village Voice this past Wednesday. I feel both honored and humbled for being included as part of such a collection of worthy blogs.

When one steps onto the stage here in New York, your audience, if you will, expects nothing but the best. Since 2007 I have attempted to record and document, using this medium, the progress of this vast project.

I will carry on.

For your perusal, here's a complete listing of the other blogs that were featured by The Village Voice:

Art Fag City
Gerritsen Beach
Bushwick BK
Bronx News Network
Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York
The Lo-Down
Queens Crap
Brooklyn Vegan
Forgotten NY
Faith and Fear in Flushing
Animal New York
The House Next Door
Second Avenue Sagas
New York Shitty
Food in Mouth
Ask Moxi

PS: I took another set of images on Sunday afternoon (1/31/10) and I hope to get them posted on Monday or Tuesday this week. So please stand by.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010

"What is the Second Avenue Subway" (1:01)
Metropolitan Transportation Authority - YouTube - 1/12/10

The MTA posted this short video on their new web site, and their new YouTube channel, last week. It provides viewers with a nice one-minute history of the project.


The video shown below is NOT from the Second Avenue subway project.
It is from the MTA's Number 7 Line extension project.

"7 Subway Extension - 12/14/2009 Update" (2:32)
Metropolitan Transportation Authority - YouTube - 1/12/10

The MTA also posted this new video on their YouTube channel last week. It shows the on-going work on the 7 Subway Extension project in Midtown West.

I've posted it here since I'm sure that there are people who view this blog who would be interested in seeing this work, which is very similar to the SAS tunneling that should start in May 2010, I'm told.

Both videos can be viewed
in high-definition (HD) if you follow these steps:
Left-click 2 times on the video (this will re-direct you to the YouTube site.) Then move your cursor over the "360p" in the lower right-hand corner of the video and select one of the other video modes -
480p" (640 x 480 pixels) or "720p" (1280 x 720 pixels)


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

The costs of Second Ave. construction
2nd Ave. Sagas - 1/14/10

SAS utilities work forces UES street closures
2nd Ave. Sagas - 1/14/10

Invitation For Bid (IFB) Notice - 12/17/09
Contracts 4A & 4B [C-26007]
72nd Street Station Station Cavern Mining/Lining & Heavy Civil Work, including the demolition of existing buildings.
An advertisement requesting Letters of Interest (LOI) was previously published on 9/18/09 for this contract, introducing it as a Request for Proposal (RFP), however, it is now being solicited as an IFB. (A copy of the original LOI notice can be found on this link.)
The MTA's 2005-2009 Capital Budget includes $649,300,000 for this part of the project.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010

Here are two nice images (courtesy of the MTA) of the work site under Second Avenue - inside the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) launch box, and future home of the Second Avenue subway 96th Street station.

They're a little dated... but I wanted to post them anyway since very few high quality images of the work under 2nd Avenue have been made public. As I track down additional images I'll be sure to post them here.

Left-click on either image to view the full size. The detail is amazing.

Patrick J. Cashin/MTA - 10/20/09
(probably near 94th Street - looking South)

Patrick J. Cashin/MTA - 10/20/09
(probably near 92nd Street - looking South)


And here's a small set of pictures that I took on Saturday, 1/9/2010 between 92nd and 102nd Streets.

On Saturday there appeared to be a full crew of workers on the site, all day - including workers from EE Cruz and Tully Construction, who were working near 95th Street.

On this day workers were using two cranes to remove rock and soil from the surface below the decking. In the following four images a large crane is being used to lift pieces of rock.

just south of 92nd - looking W

The man in the foreground is using the rope (in his hands) to help keep the bucket from swinging. He also uses the rope to line up the bucket over the truck, so it is loaded properly.

just south of 92nd - looking NE

btw. 98th and 99th, east side of the Avenue

This very old fire hydrant is located in front of Metropolitan Hospital. I tried to date it on and my guess is that it was made by A.P. Smith Mfg. Co. of East Orange, NJ about 100 years ago.

btw. 98th & 99th

near 97th

just south of 97th - looking S

1850 2nd Avenue (just south of 96th)

Between 95th and 96th Streets the pedestrian walkway on the east side has been moved to the center of 2nd Avenue. Access to this deli is maintained by the passageway shown, while work proceeds north and south of this location.

btw. 95th and 96th - looking N

A closer look at this drilling rig.

95th, SW corner - looking up

In this image you see 3 retroreflectors that have been mounted in the side of this building by the contractors. The platform at the top is for the Automatic Target Recognizing Station.

A close-up view of a retroreflector.

94th - NE corner - looking SW

A look through the maze of fencing at this location.

102nd - SW corner

This appears to be a service entrance to a section of the 2nd Avenue subway tunnel that was completed during the mid-1970s. This particular tunnel runs from 99th Street to 105th Street.


"Second Avenue Tunnel Boring Machine" (1:50)
"A light-hearted look at a technically complex subject."
By Stagesynapses - MeFeedia - 12/19/09

This short video provides us with the first glimpse of the actual Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) that will be used on this project.

The machine that is shown in the video is an S-434 Herrenknecht Gripper Tunnel Boring Machine. This particular machine was last used on the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Abatement Project in Fall River, Massachusetts. It was originally manufactured by the company Herrenknecht AG, in Schwanau, Germany.

At the moment the TBM is sitting in a construction yard in New Jersey, but sources tell me that contractor plans to start assembling it inside the launch box at the end of March 2010 and they expect to start the first drive two months later, in May.


Flickr user -ytf - 12/30/09
91st - looking N

I came across this set of stereo images about a week ago on the Flickr website and the photographer gave me permission to use them.

Per the photographer, "To view in stereo, sit 2-3 feet from the monitor and gently cross your eyes so that the two images become three. The one in the middle will be in 3d. If you are finding this difficult, you may be trying too hard."

Viewing the original size, by left-clicking on the image, is best.

That's it for now!