Monday, February 21, 2011

Shop 2nd Avenue

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and MTA Capital Construction hosted a press conference on February 11th. The well attended event celebrated the launch of a new campaign: “Shop Second Avenue...It’s Worth It!"

The campaign intends to affirm that Second Avenue’s shops, restaurants and neighborhood businesses are open for business during the construction of the Second Avenue subway.

As part of the marketing campaign, a Shop Second Avenue MetroCard will be released in April. The card will be available in all Lexington Avenue 4/5/6 stations from 51st Street to 103rd Street, as well as in the N/Q/R Line stations located at Lexington Avenue/59th Street and 5th Avenue/59th Street and the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street F Line Station.

Promotional Shop Second Avenue signage will also be introduced in subway stations and bus lines to promote the Second Avenue corridor as a shopping and dining destination.

A more detailed report of this event can be found in the posting "Beautifying a construction site along Second Ave." on the blog 2nd Ave. Sagas.

A few images from the press conference follow:


Nancy Ploeger, president, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; Jeffrey Bernstein, chair, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce; Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction; Assembly Member Jonathan L. Bing, and Council Member Dan Garodnick.



As part of the campaign, MTA Capital Construction unveiled its so-called "model block” concept on Second Avenue between East 92nd and 93rd streets.

The prototype block portrays an environment with fence wrapping; new and improved fencing and repainted barriers; safety improvements to sight lines for pedestrians and vehicles; a large Shop Second Avenue advertisement on the muck conveyor structure; and on each corner, pedestrian way-finding signage that lists the businesses located on the block.

East 92nd, NE corner - looking W

Council Member Dan Garodnick (on the left) listens as MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu explains the new way-finding signage.

btw. 92nd and 93rd streets - looking E

MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu holds an impromptu press conference of his own in front of the muck tower to answer reporters' questions.

92nd, NE corner - looking W

In this image you can see the roadway delineators, made by the company Flexstake, that have been set up to separate the roadway from the pedestrian path through the work zone at 92nd Street.


This is a closeup shot of the mesh fence wrapping that is being used in the model block.

93rd Street, SE corner - looking W

93rd Street - looking SE


After the press conference, I took a walk down Second Avenue, starting at 101st Street, to have a look at the various work sites. Here is what I observed --

99th Street - looking S

The contractor at this location is continuing to relocate utilities on the west side of Second Avenue.

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking E

A nice example of the maze of utility lines that must be relocated in this area under Second Avenue.

97th Street, NE corner - looking SW

A view from across Second Avenue of the site of the former Century Lumber yard. This site will eventually be transformed into Ancillary Building No. 2 for the 96th Street station.

The large, yellow mobile drilling rig shown in this image is being used to install secant piles at this location.

97th Street, just west of 2nd Ave - looking E

A different view of the same site.


The workers in the image are lowering a tremie pipe, with a funnel on the top, into a hole. Wet concrete will soon be poured into the funnel to fill part of the secant pile that is under construction.


The worker in this image is performing various tests on the wet concrete to confirm its consistency.

just N of 96th Street - looking S

More utility relocation work.

btw. 91st & 92nd streets - looking W

The ground freeze process continues at this location on Second Avenue - in preparation for the start of TBM Run No. 2 (the east tunnel).

84th Street, NE corner - looking S

Material is delivered to the work site.

83rd Street, SW corner - looking N

A pedestrian's view of the maze of fencing in this area.

73rd Street - looking S

The access shaft near 72nd Street can be seen, if you look carefully, in the distance. (It's in front of the mobile crane.) Dust, visible in this image and the image below, was billowing out of the shaft when I took these images.


A closeup shot, with the dust clearly in view now.

259 E 72nd Street

This sign was posted in the window of Falk Surgical Supply. They have had to move so that their building can be taken down to make room for an entrance and ancillary building for the 72nd Street station.

259 E 72nd Street, NW corner

A view of the inside of the former Falk Surgical Supply shop.


In other news:

- Community Board 8's Second Avenue Subway Task Force met this past Tuesday evening. The MTA's presentation at this meeting can be found on this link:
Construction Update - 2/15/11

- The bids for the 86th Street station cavern contract (Ref: Contract C-26008) were opened on Februrary 4th. The MTA has announced that they are reviewing the bids and they expect to award the contract in April or May. Details of the bidding will be provided on the blog as soon as they are posted on the MTA Bid Results web page.

- The owner and tenants association of Yorkshire Towers, a rental apartment building at 315 East 86th Street, have filed a civil lawsuit against the DOT, FTA, and MTA to block the planned construction of station entrances on the north side of 86th Street in front of their building. A copy of the complaint can be found below.

For further reading I suggest having a look at Ben Kabak's report on the case on his blog 2nd Ave. Sagas.

Yorkshire Towers Co. L.P. v. US DOT et al ::::: Here's a listing of the recent additions to the right-hand column of The Launch Box Technical Memorandum No. 7: 72nd Street Station Entrance and Ancillary Facility Federal Transit Administration, DOT 12/15/10 "MTA Steps Up Efforts to Help Struggling Second Avenue Shops" By Amy Zimmer - 2/11/11 "MTA Helps Launch Campaign To Help 2nd Ave Businesses" (0:58) NY1 - 2/12/11 Beautifying a construction site along Second Ave. 2nd Ave. Sagas - 2/14/11 By Benjamin Kabak "Upper East Side Building Sues MTA Over Planned Subway Entrances" By Amy Zimmer - 2/16/11 Residents on 86th file suit over entrances, again 2nd Ave. Sagas - 2/18/11
By Benjamin Kabak

Monday, February 7, 2011



Updated (10:00 p.m.)

Second Avenue Subway TBM Run No. 1 (the west tunnel) was completed on Saturday morning, February 5th at 4:30 a.m.

Workers are now in the process of partially disassembling the TBM so that it can be backed out of the tunnel over the next 4 - 5 weeks.

Once the 485-ton machine is backed out of the tunnel, it will be jacked from the west side of the launch box to the east side of the launch box. Then it will start Run No. 2 (the east tunnel).

The plan calls for the TBM to mine the east tunnel all the way to the existing 63rd Street / Lexington Avenue station - a distance of 7,840 feet. When it reaches this station, sometime in late 2011, we should expect a dramatic arrival at 63rd Street, when it breaks through the rock into the open air.

The contractor was not able to use the TBM to mine the west tunnel all the way to the 63rd Street / Lexington Avenue station because the radius of the turn at the end of the run would have been too tight for the machine to handle. This curve in the west tunnel will instead be mined using traditional methods, i.e. with explosives.


The MTA issued this press release on
Monday, February 7th with the news:

Excavation of West Tunnel for Second Avenue Subway Complete

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the completion of the excavation of the west tunnel for Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway. To achieve this major milestone, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) mined 7,612 7,162 feet. The 485-ton, 450-foot-long machine began mining in May 2010 from 92nd Street and will now be disassembled and pulled back to 92nd Street where it will start its second run this spring to mine the east tunnel. The subway line is on schedule to be completed by December 2016.

“Construction of this much-needed subway continues to move forward and this week marks another major accomplishment to transform New York as we know it,” said MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu. “These are tangible results that will not only expand our capacity but will also bring new economic activity and growth to Manhattan’s Upper East Side and points beyond.”

Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway will serve more than 200,000 people per day, reducing overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue Line and restoring a transit link to a neighborhood that lost the Second Avenue Elevated in 1940.

When Phase I is complete, it will decrease crowding on the adjacent Lexington Avenue Line by as much as 13%, or 23,500 fewer riders on an average weekday. It will also reduce travel times by up to 10 minutes or more (up to 27%) for those on the far east side or those traveling from the east side to west midtown.

The line is being built in phases, with the Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway providing service from 96th Street to 63rd Street as an extension of the Q train, three new ADA-accessible stations along Second Avenue at 96th, 86th and 72nd Streets, and new entrances to the existing Lexington Av/63 Street Station at 63rd Street and Third Avenue. Further phases of the project will extend the line from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in the Financial District. The configuration of the tracks will allow for possible future extensions into Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

The Second Avenue Subway is one of four large-scale projects being built as the MTA undertakes the largest expansion of New York's public transportation system in two generations. The MTA is also connecting the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, extending the 7 subway line to the far west side, and building the Fulton Street Transit Center in Lower Manhattan.


Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney followed
later in the day with this News Release:

Maloney Cheers Completion of 1st Second Avenue Subway Tunnel

New York, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) celebrated the news that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) 485-ton, 450-foot-long tunnel boring machine (TBM) had reached 63rd Street, completing the first tunnel for the Second Avenue Subway. On May 14, 2010, the MTA launched the TBM at 92nd Street. The TBM will now be disassembled, brought back to 92nd Street, reassembled and relaunched to dig the subway’s second tunnel.

“We’re starting to see real progress now that the tunnel boring machine has completed the first tunnel for the Second Avenue Subway. There’s still a lot of work to do, but that light at the end of the tunnel is growing ever-brighter now that this milestone has been reached. I congratulate the MTA and the construction team for getting us this far, and I look forward to celebrating the completion of the second tunnel,” said Maloney.


A recent set of images from inside the
west tunnel can be found on this link:

"A View Down Below - January 23, 2011"


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

(link no longer available)
"NYC Tunnel Tour - Part 1" (4:40)
By Aileen Cho and Luke Abaffy
Engineering News-Record - 1/11

"Freeze Ground, Thaw Hearts"
Engineering News-Record - 2/2/11

"Cavernous Crusades"
By Aileen Cho
Engineering News-Record - 2/2/11

ADI completes her western run under Second Ave.
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd. Ave Sagas - 2/7/11

Notice of Limitation on Claims
Against Proposed Public Transportation Projects

Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT
Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 11 - 1/18/11
This notice announces final environmental actions taken by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for Second Avenue Subway Project. The purpose of this notice is to announce publicly the environmental decisions by FTA on the subject projects and to activate the limitation on any claims that may challenge these final environmental actions.