Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The New York Times Goes Down Under

Updated 8/6/12
With a follow-up piece from the New York Times Magazine blog, The 6th Floor, and information on the "wet scrubber" unit near the 86th Street.


The New York Times ventures underground to report on the progress of the Second Avenue subway.

Photo credit: Richard Barnes for The New York Times
Source: The New York Times web site

This magazine was included with
the Sunday paper on August 5th.

"Tunneling Below Second Avenue"
Kim Tingley for The New York Times
Kim Tingley is an online columnist for OnEarth magazine.

The piece also includes a stunning set of images by the photographer Richard Barnes and a wonderful video essay by Jacob Krupnick.

"Way Down in The Hole"
By Richard Barnes for The New York Times
"The hidden beauty of one of the greatest public-works projects New York City has ever seen: the Second Avenue subway."
Richard Barnes is a recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship for 2012.

Note that all of the 72nd Street station cavern images in this photo essay were taken seven months ago, in January 2012 between January and May of this year. Excavation of this station cavern is now complete.

During Mr. Barnes' journey underneath Second Avenue, I also was present with my camera.
A comparative set of images to Mr. Barnes' can be seen on this link:
"Secrets Under New York"
The Launch Box

Video: "Inside NYC’s underground wonder" (5:57)
Morning Joe/MSNBC
NBC News
An on-air interview with the photographer Richard Barnes who talks about his experience photographing the subterranean work site deep under Second Avenue.

Video: "The Once and Future Plan to Get New York on Track" (4:40)
Directed and edited by Jacob Krupnick for The New York Times
(I can't seem to get the sizing for the New York Times embed code to work properly. If you wish to view the video I suggest that you click on the hyperlink above.)

The Second Avenue subway is not a new story as just about everyone in New York must know by now. As a matter of fact, the Times has been covering this story for well over eighty years.

One of The New York Times' first pieces on the project can be found on this link:
"100 Miles of Subway in New City Project;
52 of Them in Queens"

The New York Times

Update 8/6/12
The New York Times posted this interesting follow-up piece on their web site this morning:

"Going Underground: Behind the Scenes of Our Second Avenue Subway Cover Shoot"
By Kathy Ryan
The 6th Floor
The New York Times
"The 6th Floor is the blog of The New York Times Magazine, where staff members — editors, designers, writers, photo editors and researchers — share ideas, arguments, curiosities and links."

What follows is a set of recent street level images from the various work zones along Second Avenue.

Saturday, 7/14/12
near the SW corner of 97th Street - looking W

A view of foundation work for Ancillary Building number 2 for the the future 96th Street station. (This is the site of the former Century Lumber Building.)

near the SW corner of 96th Street - looking S

96th Street - looking S

btw. 95th and 96th streets - looking W

The equipment on the table would appear to be for testing concrete.

94th Street, NE corner - looking SE

The water in the foreground is contained in a sediment tank.

Dirty (muddy) water is pumped into the sediment tank where it cascades through a set of baffle chambers, which slow the water flow, allowing the silt to settle at the bottom of the chambers.

The silt is removed and the "clean" water is then discharged into the sewer system.

93rd Street - looking S

This is the former site of the vertical conveyor system that was used when the Tunnel Boring Machine was mining the tunnels in 2010/11.

87th Street - looking S

A view under the north shaft muck system -- which occupies the east half of Second Avenue in this block.

The muck system at this location is used to transport rock and other material from the work site below to the surface.

btw. 86th and 87th streets - looking W

It's not clear to me what the device with the yellow cover is. All I can tell you is that it is made by the company Schauenburg.

It's possible that it is part of the equipment that will be used to remove dust from the air during underground blasting operations.

Update 8/6/12
A reliable source told me today that this device is a "wet scrubber" unit for the north ventilation system.  During blasting operations, air will be extracted from the cavern and sent through the scrubber. The scrubber will treat the air with a fine mist of water to collect dust prior to the exhaust being released into the atmosphere.


A closer view of this device.

btw. 86th and 87th streets - looking W

Another view from under the north muck system.

The bright yellow tube is part of the air handling system for the work site underground.

btw. 86th and 87th streets
Courtesy of MTA Capital Construction

A view looking down into the north shaft.

86th Street, SE corner - looking W

The liquid on the ground looked to me like used cooking oil that had leaked out of one of the boxes that had been left on the corner. The orange signs in the image indicate that both residential and commercial garbage is to be left at this location.

In front of 245 E 84th Street - looking East

This a view, from street level, down into the south shaft for the 86th Street station cavern.

Courtesy of MTA Capital Construction
Inside the South shaft at 84th Street - looking West

A better view of work site inside the south shaft.

In front of 245 E 84th Street - looking E

Another street level view of the south shaft work site.

84th Street, just north of the NW corner - looking W

73rd Street, SE corner

Located in the construction zone, here is another business that couldn't make it.

72nd Street, NW corner - looking E

The future site, on the corner, of Entrance Number 3 for the 72nd Street station.

Lexington Ave/63rd Street station - upper level

A view of the existing Lexington Av/63rd Street station. Note that the 70's era orange tiled wall has now been replaced by a temporary blue wooden wall.

Eventually the temporary wall be be removed - to reveal a 2nd track on the north side of both levels of this station. This new track will be for the Second Avenue subway.

Lexington Ave/63rd Street station - lower level

A small section of the orange wall still remains near the existing elevator in this station.

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

Video: "Inside the 2nd Ave. Subway" (1:09)
By Marvin Scott
WPIX/Channel 11 - 7/30/12

"Hush-Hush: Undercover and Underground at the Second Avenue Subway Site"
By Jessi Rucker
NY Observer - 7/25/12

Video: "Metrofocus: Transforming Transportation" (26:47)
WNET/Thirteen - 7/23/12
"MetroFocus “Transforming Transportation” explores the diverse ways New Yorkers get around the metropolitan area and the large-scale projects that will improve our overburdened transit systems."

"Second Avenue Subway barricades a haven for thugs, neighbors say"
By Kirstan Conley, Kevin Fasick and Jennifer Fermino
New York Post - 7/23/12

Video: "Second Avenue Subway Dust No Longer Visible, But Businesses Still Struggling"
By Tina Redwine
NY1 News - 7/17/12

For SAS Phase I, Federal Funding All In Place
By Benjamin Kabak
2nd. Ave. Sagas - 7/2/12

"$324.6 Million NYC Second Avenue Subway Contract Awarded"
By Amelia Pang
The Epoch Times - 6/25/12