By Michael Lentin
New York City’s second avenue subway line may have been in the works since 1939, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t creating a stir today. While many New Yorkers are excited about a line on the east side, others worry it will leave their once-quiet neighborhoods noisy, crowded, and dirty.
With the first of four building phases set to end in 2016, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is currently building tunnels from 105th street to 63rd, and incorporating with new subway stations added along Second Avenue at 96th, 86th and 72nd streets. If all goes according to plan, the subway line will run with limited capacity starting in 2016, and expand over the next decade.
Although the second avenue line won’t be opening any time soon, anticipation is already brewing. Property values in Yorkville are on the rise, and the market activity there is almost three times Manhattan’s average. While this is good news for landlords, some residents are less thrilled about the MTA’s latest push.
For people living on the new subway line’s route, adjusting to life amid construction has been challenging. First, the MTA asked some upper-east-siders to live elsewhere for a month. Then, according to the New York Post, the construction sites began attracting large swarms of flies.
A couple of fatal pedestrian accidents have been loosely tied to the construction. And the whole time, loud construction noise disturbs residents’ sleep and peace of mind—impacting their health and enjoyment.
A few upper-east-siders are fighting back. On March 15th, residents of the Yorkshire Towers at 315 E. 86th Street filed a lawsuit against the MTA. The lawsuit claims the placement of the 86th street stop goes against both MTA guidelines and an environmental review. In addition to excess noise and traffic disturbances, the suit proclaims that the construction on the 86th Street station makes their building’s “midblock entrance…one of the most dangerous places in New York City.” Large barriers block off much of the sidewalk near the planned stops, limiting access to crosswalks and obstructing pedestrian’s view.
While these are temporary aspects of the build, residents can also expect a noisier neighborhood once the line opens. When all four phases are finished, the subway line will transport about 200,000 passengers from 63rd Street to 96th Street every day, and run from 125th street to Hanover Square.
If you’re an east side resident, there are steps you can take to reduce exposure to newfound street noise. Tapestries and carpets absorb sound and vibration, and Soundproof Windows offer a whisper-quiet noise pollution solution. In addition to keeping unwanted noise out of your apartment, Soundproof Windows will protect from fine dust and pollutants in the air.
While the construction on the second avenue line hasn’t been as speedy or smooth as the MTA and New Yorkers had hoped, the opening of the new subway line represents decades of hard work. After all the digging, blasting, and cacophony of construction, the new subway will make thousands of New Yorker’s lives easier. With a good Soundproofing solution, you can enjoy the convenience of this subway line without suffering its noisy drawbacks.