Sunday, February 12, 2012

Over the Top

Recently, I was able to take photos of Second Avenue from an unusual vantage point: atop a residential building on East 71st Street.

What follows are those aerial images, as well as other images taken at street level.

Looking south from the roof of 300 East 71st Street.

This block-long structure is one of two temporary muck houses that have been set up on Second Avenue for the 72nd Street Station cavern excavation contract. This structure is located on the east side of the avenue, between 69th & 70th streets.

Note the vacant lot on the NW corner of 69th Street (the lot with the dump truck in it). This lot has been cleared to make way for Ancillary Building No. 1 for the 72nd Street station.


An close-up view of the south entrance to the structure.

Looking north from the roof of 300 East 71st Street.

The other (white) temporary muck house for this contract can be seen in the distance. It is situated between 72nd and 73rd streets.

Similar structures will be set up in the not-too-distant future, in support of the 86th Street cavern excavation contract.

The blue structures in the foreground are temporary offices, workshops and storage areas for the contractors.

The same view

Note the vacant lot on the NW corner of 72nd Street. This lot has been cleared to make way for Ancillary Building No. 2 (and Entrance No. 2) for the 72nd Street station.

69th Street

The lighted board on the right is the official OSHA-mandated "check-in/check-out station" for the Sandhogs working underground. If a tag is turned to its orange side, then the worker is underground; if the tag is turned to gray, then the worker is not underground.

69th Street - looking S

This is a concrete pumping station.

Fresh concrete, that has been delivered by a concrete transport truck (a.k.a. a cement mixer), is pumped from this location to the station cavern below ground.

At the moment, the concrete is being used to shotcrete the ceiling and walls of the underground cavern.

72nd Street - just west of 2nd Avenue

Here, mounted on a street light pole, is equipment that is being used to monitor the air quality and sound levels near the construction site.

The equipment is set up so that its measurements are transmitted to the base station via a wireless network.


A view of the decorative fence wrapping that has been installed in front of 245 East 72nd Street.

72nd Street, NW corner - looking SE

The building on the far corner is being razed. Eventually Entrance No. 3 for the 72nd Street Station will be constructed on this site.

By the time I take my next set of images, this building will likely be gone.

86th Street, NW corner - looking SE

A small piece of excavating equipment trundles across 86th Street.

85th Street - looking N

Workers at this location are in the process of digging a shallow utility trench .

85th Street - looking N

btw. 87th & 88th Street - looking W

If you look closely, underneath the NY Giants logo, you can see a few of the cobblestones that once formed an earlier road surface of Second Avenue.

btw. 87th & 88th Streets

Stone waiting to be removed from the job site.

btw. 87th & 88th streets

A fresh load of asphalt concrete.

just south of 86th Street on the east side of the avenue

A photo of the German grocery and butcher shop, Schaller & Weber, at 1654 Second Avenue -- a landmark in Yorkville since 1937.

84th Street - looking S

A truck carrying a piece of steel I-beam waits to be unloaded by the contractor.

85th Street - looking W

An Atlas Copco hydraulic rock drill rig (Model ROC D3) slowly makes it way down Second Avenue.

btw. 83rd & 84th streets

On the left side of this hole, you can see what would appear to be an old brick foundation.

Most likely this is one of the foundations for the IRT Second Avenue Line (a.k.a. the Second Avenue El) that ran above the avenue until the early 1940s. Similar foundations were uncovered when they excavated the site of the TBM launch box a few years ago.

btw. 84 & 85th Streets - looking E

A worker drilling a hole in Second Avenue.


The cylindrical section of asphalt that was removed can been seen in this image, on the far side the hole.

83rd Street, SE corner - looking NW

This building is also being taken down. In its place will stand Ancillary Building No. 1 for the 86th Street Station.

93rd Street, just east of 2nd Avenue - looking W

The contractor at this location is installing secant piles just south of the site where Ancillary Building No. 1 for the 96th Street station will be built.


A view over the fence.


A view of the drilling rig from the small garden on the SE corner of 93rd & Second.

93rd Street - looking E

The view that you have for just a few moments in the early morning when the rising sun is shining directly in line with the street grid.

94th Street - looking E

The contractor is in the process of relocating utilities in and around the future site of Entrance No. 2 for the 96th Street station.

94th Street - looking E

Workers here are in the process of removing the form around the new section of concrete wall.

Notice the large inflatable rat in the distance. The hotel at this location was being picketed when I took this image.

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority

This photo shows one of the tunnels near 64th Street. I didn't take this picture. However, I wanted to include it here as the last shot in this series since it is rather dramatic.

I recently became aware of the following two Second Avenue Subway related sites on the internet. Both sites apparently have been set up by members of the local community on Second Avenue.

Second Avenue Subway Concerned Citizens Group
According to the site, "this group is for local New York City residents who are concerned and affected by quality of life issues due to the construction of the Second Avenue Subway."

Petition: Stop Late Night Drilling!
An on-line petition that has been started in an effort to get the MTA to cease late night underground rock drilling in the vicinity of the 72nd Street station cavern.

These links have been added to the right-hand column of the blog, in a new section called "Community Sites."

The MTA has just released a set of newsletters to better inform members of the community near the four construction sites.

These newsletters, which one could assume will be distributed to local apartments buildings in the area, provide a useful overview of construction work that is now underway.

It's unfortunate that Issue 1 is being released now - almost 5 years after the start of construction. Many residents in the affected areas surely would have enjoyed learning more about the project when ground was first broken in their neighborhood.

(Click on any image to view the PDF version of the newsletter.)

The following two businesses in and around the launch box closed in the past few weeks:

Nina's Argentinian Pizzeria Restaurant
1750 Second Avenue (btw. 91st and 92nd streets)

Crowe's Nest - a bar
1804 Second Avenue (btw. 93rd & 94th streets)

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

"Dogs Suffer Second Avenue Subway Health Woes, Owners Say"
By Serena Solomon - 2/8/12

Second Avenue Subway Construction:
An Underground Look
By Ti-Hua Chang
WNYW/Fox 5 News - 2/7/12
Video (3:23)

"A Depot and a Fight to Photograph the City"
By David W. Dunlap
The New York Times - 2/7/12
A reporter with a camera [not me] is confronted on Second Avenue.

"Should it take decades to build a subway?"
By Will Doig
Salon - 2/4/12

Along Second Ave., a good time to rent (or buy?)
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 1/23/12

"East Siders’ deep-down subway look"
By Kevin Fasick and Gary Buiso
New York Post - 1/22/12

"The Hollower in Chief:
Questions for MTA Capital Construction
President Michael Horodniceanu"
By Matthew Van Dusen
Technologist - 1/17/12

Ten Years of the Second Avenue Subway
Multimedia presentation
Marking 10 years of work on the Second Avenue Subway project, the AECOM-Arup joint venture shares its involvement in helping to return transit to Manhattan’s far East Side.

MTA Project Update
A copy of the MTA's presentation to the last meeting of Community Board 8's Second Avenue Subway Task Force

Presentation on Air Monitoring Study
A copy of the Air Quality Monitoring Study presentation from the same CB8SAS Task Force meeting.

Undercity 3: Abandoned 2nd Avenue Subway
By Steve Duncan and Andrew Wonder
Video - 2011
"Steve Duncan accompanied by filmmaker Andrew Wonder explores a section of the 2nd Avenue subway line, a cavernous six-block radius below Chinatown, that was completed but will never be used." (in the 1970s)

Off Topic

The New Fulton Street Center

A video update on the construction progress at the new Fulton Street Transit Center in Lower Manhattan - one of MTA Capital Construction's other so-called Mega-projects.

Fulton St Transit Center - Update
Metropolitan Transportation Authority


Anonymous said...

Ben, good work as always, but I believe the old brick foundation under that street place is between 83rd and 84th street on the East side, not 84th and 85th.

The Launch Box said...


I just double checked this and you're right. I'll correct this on the blog in a moment.

The hole is(was) in front of 1610 Second Avenue, which is between 83rd & 84th streets.


Anonymous said...

84th Street, SE corner - looking NW

This building is also being taken down. In its place will stand Ancillary Building No. 1 for the 86th Street Station."

Ben, This should also be 83rd street not 84th.

The Launch Box said...

Thanks. I've corrected this caption also.

In the future please send corrections using the "Contact Me" form highlighted in the left-hand column.

If you want you can contact me anonymously using this form.