Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fifth Anniversary Comes and Goes

With scant (if any) celebration, one more project milestone was recently passed: the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this phase of 2nd Avenue subway construction.

With the M.T.A.'s estimated completion date still set for December 2016, Phase I of the project is scheduled to be in-service in just over four years.

While the vast majority of New Yorkers are not affected by the subway construction, most people I talk to seem to be well aware of it.

I believe this is the result of three things: the media's focus on the mostly negative aspects of the work; the M.T.A.'s renewed efforts to better engage residents and businesses in the affected neighborhoods; and blogs such as 2nd Ave. Sagas and The Launch Box.

The work now seems to have a more predictable flow; workers and materials are arriving and departing each day with regularity, and residents are coping as best they can.

With full funding for Phase I finally now secure, it seems in all likelihood that residents of the Upper East Side will see subway service running under Second Avenue in just a few short years.

Now on to today's posting
of recent images from Second Avenue --

In front of 1594 Second Avenue (btw. 83rd and 84th streets)

It's safe to say that most of the merchants on Second Avenue are not thrilled with the construction site that exists just outside their store front windows.

However, some merchants have taken matters into their own hands, and have creatively and effectively attempted to improve "the view".

Firenze Ristorante, an Italian restaurant at 1594 Second Avenue, has done something really unique.  They have planted a vertical garden *on* the fence in front of their location.

You have to give them credit for doing what they can to give their customers a more attractive view while dining.

In front of 1596 Second Avenue (btw. 83rd and 84th streets)

Right next door, at Big Daddy's, you have an example of what some other merchants have done -- they have hung up advertising on the fence that basically blocks the view of the construction.

In front of 303 83rd Street - looking W

Archstone Camargue, an apartment building at the corner of 83rd and Second, planted shrubs to enhance the view from their front door.


Now let's jump back uptown to have a closer look at what's going on there.

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking S

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking W

In front of the Metropolitan Hospital, the contractor E.E. Cruz/Tully is installing secant piles as they work to construct the perimeter walls for the new tunnel between the north end of the launch box (near 95th Street) and the existing tunnel (near 99th Street.)

btw. 97th and 99th streets - looking W

This is an image of an M.T.A. bus on Second Avenue. It was taken while looking through a yellow protective screen -- approximately 6 feet square -- that is usually used to shield passersby from the arc light produced by street-level welding operations.

97th Street, SE corner

The above would appear to be a large set of concrete test specimens -- approximately 75 tubes about 5" in diameter and 6" in height.

97th Street, SE corner

A closeup view of one of the cylinders.

96th Street - looking N

A view looking north, from ground level.

95th Street, NW corner - looking N

This crew, which happened to be the only crew I saw working on this Saturday, is in the process of assembling a tied rebar cage. 

By the time you read this posting, this particular cage will probably have been finished and used already to strengthen another new section of slurry wall along Second Avenue.

In front of 1804 Second Avenue (btw. 93rd and 94th) - looking S

At first, this would appear to be a rather unremarkable view of part of the work site...but look more closely. There is something special in this image.

In the left side of the image, you can see an iron support beam that forms the SW corner of the building located at 1804 Second Avenue.


The Makers' Mark (shown above) at the bottom of the beam says that it was made by Geo. H Toop [iron foundery] on 91st Street and 1st Avenue.

A closer look at this NYC (ca. 1898) map, from the digital collections of the New York Public Library, shows an iron foundry that was located near 406 East 91st Street, which is just to the east of 1st Avenue.

If you pause and think about it for a moment, it's rather amazing that this iron beam has stood at this location for more than one hundred years. 

93rd Street, NE corner - looking NE

Construction equipment sitting idle on this Saturday afternoon.

92nd Street - looking S

This is a shot taken in front of the so-called glory hole, which is covered for the weekend, near 92nd Street.

The crane that was sitting at this location for about the last three years has now been removed. In its place now stands a leased crane from Bay Crane, a firm based in Long Island City, NY.

96th Street, NW corner - looking N
(Formerly a Chase Bank branch)

At this location, the contractor is in the process of demolishing what was a Chase Bank branch.  In time, this location will become Ancillary Building No. 2 for the new 86th Street Station.

In front of 245 East 83rd Street - looking SE

A piece of construction equipment.  (I like how the apartment building is framed under the boom.)

In front of 245 East 83rd - looking E

The crane shown here is sitting in the hole that has now been excavated at the NW corner of 83rd and Second Avenue.  This is the location that will become the site of Ancillary Building No.2 for the 86th Street station.

The "daylight" that you see underneath Second Avenue is coming from the excavated area at the NE corner of 83rd and Second.

83rd Street, just west of the SW corner - looking N

For a long time I've looked at the indentations in this building and wondered what they were.  It occurred to me during this photo shoot that that these indentations are actually the locations of former fireplaces.

83rd Street, SW corner - looking E

A view of the muck handling system that is being set up at this location.

The equipment shown here will be used to lift muck ("shot rock" and debris) from the blasting area below ground to the surface where it will be trucked away.

83rd Street, SE corner - looking S

A view of some of the air monitoring equipment that is in use at the work site.

72nd Street, NE corner - looking S

Across the street here you can see the remnants of what is left of the Brick Oven Pizza and Grill Restaurant.  The building at this location is being demolished to make room for Entrance No. 3 for the future 72nd Street station.

63rd and Third Avenue, just east of the SW corner - looking NE

An unspectacular image of the work site at this location.

92nd Street, SE corner - looking S

Now jumping back to 92nd Street...

An image of some advertising that Delizia's Pizzeria has painted on the side wall of its building.

Back in March, I posted a link to a copy a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report called the "Project Management Oversight Contractor Monthly Report, Second Avenue Subway, Phase I".  Most of the report I posted at that time, from January 2012, had been redacted (blacked out) for reasons that I do not know.

Apparently the DOT has had a change of heart and almost all of this report is now available for anyone to view.

The newly available reports can now be viewed on this link:

Project Management Oversight Contractor Monthly Report
Second Avenue Subway Phase 1
Prepared by Urban Engineers of New York for
the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
March 2012

Of particular interest is page 24 of the February 2012 report.  On this page, the MTA in-service date for Phase I is December 30, 2016. However, the so-called "Enterprise Level Project Execution Plan (ELPEP), reflecting median level of risk mitigation" in-service date is February 28, 2018.

An finally, here are a few recent images from various MTA sources:

MTA Capital Construction

A view of what would appear to one of the tunnels between the 72nd Street cavern and the existing 63rd Street/Lexington Avenue station.

MTA Capital Construction

An image from inside the 72nd Street station cavern.  This would appear to be the north end of the cavern.

MTA Capital Construction

Again, another view inside the 72nd Street station cavern.

"Actual blast from 2nd ave tunnel"
By Dieselmmc
via YouTube (1:02)

An unofficial video of a recent blast inside the 72nd Street station cavern.

According to the caption, 40 cases of dynamite (with 59 sticks per case) were used in the blast shown in this video.

Additional blasting videos from this YouTube user can be found on this link.

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

Quarterly Report for 1Q2012
Second Avenue Subway, Phase I
MTA Capital Construction
May 2012 - 37 pages

Progress Report on Second Avenue Subway
McKissack+Delcan JV report to the
Capital Program Oversight Committee of the
MTA Board of Directors
May 2012

"What Lies Beneath: The Second Avenue Subway Construction"
By Michelle Young
untapped new york

"Famous Artists Tapped for Second Avenue Subway Station Installations"
By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo.com - 5/11/12

"No Light at the End of the Tunnel"
By by James Kaminsky
Manhattan Magazine

High Above Manhattan

An report from high above Manhattan, at the top of the 1 World Trade Center:

"In a Crane at 1,100 Feet, There Is No Room for Error"
By Charle V. Bagai
The New York Times

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel for all the shop owners who have to put up with the subway construction in their neighborhood, but I hope they realize that what is happening in front of them will benefit them (eventually) and generations of New Yorkers that'll come after they are long gone. A decade or so of inconvenience is harsh, but it will seem like nothing once this line is up and running for hundreds of years.