Saturday, June 06, 2015

Our pal Mitch Waxman takes a walk through NYC's under-construction Second Avenue subway


Gathering for a descent into the under-construction Second Avenue subway: Says Mitch, "There were a sizable number of sharp elbowed reporters in the group, including the former First Lady of NYC, Donna Hanover. She seemed nice."

by Ken

Last weekend I had outings both days with our old pal Mitch Waxman, historian of the Newtown Creek Alliance and stalwart of the Working Harbor Committee, walking scholar of western Queens, and photographer-wanderer around the NYC metropolis -- Saturday, on the Obscura Society's Obscura Day, a walking tour of the Skillman Corridor in Long Island City, Queens, and Sunday he did a heroic job on the mike for a WHC voyage up Newtown Creek -- or, as he would likely refer to it, "my beloved Newtown Creek.

That gave me a chance to tell him how much I was loving the photos he had been sharing in a series of Newtown Pentacle blogposts in progress from a walk he'd been invited to participate in along with a gaggle of other journalists and photographers along the route of the still-under-construction Second Avenue subway in Manhattan, from the nearer-to-completion south end, at 63rd Street, up to 86th Street. (This first stretch of the Second Avenue line, when it opens, maybe in December 2015 and maybe not, will run as far as 96th Street, with stations at 63rd, 72nd, 85th, and 96th.)

I've done scant justice to the series by picking a single photo out of each day's wonderfully diverse offerings. (At least you can enlarge all the photos by clicking on them.) I encourage you to check it out.

"Who can guess . . ."
Lord and Ladies, the Second Avenue Subway project (May 26)

The 63rd Street station "is quite far along." "There’s track, for instance, and the far wall is sporting some actual finishes. The MTA didn’t use tile, to avoid the maintenance costs experienced whenever water infiltrates behind it. Instead, the wall has a sort of rack on it, and the “tiles” clip on to it leaving a bit of leeway for flowing liquids to find their way to drains."

". . . all that there is . . ."
Second Avenue Subway Series, continues in today's post (May 27)

"The atmosphere in this newly carven intestine of the Megalopolis was actually a bit on the warm side, but not uncomfortably so, and no unpleasant nor mephitic odors were encountered in any abundance. Curing concrete coupled with a somewhat static and dusty air mass contributed to bodily perspiration, however, a process exacerbated by the requirements for wearing 'PPE' or 'Personal Protective Equipment' insisted on by the work site management."

". . . that might be . . ."
From somewhere under Manhattan, the Second Avenue Subway Series continues (May 28)

"The design of the Second Avenue Subway passenger stations is distinct from the older sections of the system, there were no steel beams hanging down from the ceiling for instance. The stations take the shape of a series of flattened cylinders with cathedral like interiors."

". . . buried . . ."
Second Avenue subway, beyond 72nd Street (May 29)

The chamber that will be the 72nd Street station: "Northward, we continued moving through the construction site, and one paused for a moment to grab a shot of the chamber we had just exited."

The chamber that will be the 72nd Street station: "Northward, we continued moving through the construction site, and one paused for a moment to grab a shot of the chamber we had just exited."

" . . . down there?"
Second Avenue Subway, 72nd to 86th street (June 1)

The 130-step climb back up to daylight:: "Some anonymous laborer had scrawled the graffito “heart attack ridge” on the temporary landing and by the time a humble narrator had achieved that height, a heart attack felt like it was a real possibility. As my grandmother would have said – I couldn’t stop shvitzing."


June 11th, 2015

MADE IN BROOKLYN Hidden Harbor Boat Tour
with Working Harbor Committee, click here for details and tickets.

June 13th, 2015

The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek Walking Tour
with Atlas Obscura, click here for details and tickets.

June 20th, 2015

Kill Van Kull Walking Tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, click here for details and tickets.

And of course keep up with Mitch's comings and goings on his Newtown Pentacle blog.

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