- Published: 03 January 2017
- Written by David Peter Alan
After nearly 100 years since it was originally planned, subway trains rolled for the first time on New Years' Day. The new line comprises only four new stops on the "Q" Train beyond the former terminal at 7th Avenue and 57th Street: 63d Street and Lexington Avenue and 72d, 86th and 96th Streets under Second Avenue. The first train was scheduled to leave 57th Street at 12:00 noon, and it actually left at 12:02. The journey to 96th Street was slow, requiring 19 minutes. After a 15-minute layover, the same train traversed the line in the other direction, taking 18 minutes to reach 57th Street and then taking the rest of the historic BMT route to Coney Island.
The new route is dug deep underground, and is distinguished by stations with long escalators and spacious full-length mezzanines. The new line is short, and critics have called it the "Second Avenue Stubway." Transit managers plan three more extensions of the line, with construction scheduled to begin on a northward extension to 12t5th Street 2019. The line is supposed to extend the length of Manhattan, to the Financial District at the island's southern tip. Since the line was originally planned in the early 1920s, nobody knows when it will be completed.
In the meantime, the residential portion of the Upper East Side has new subway service. Since the elevated lines along Second and Third Avenues were torn down more than 60 years ago, the Lexington Avenue subway has been the only line serving much of Manhattan's East Side. Transit managers and riders hope that the new line on Second Avenue will relieve some of the overcrowding on the "Lex" Line.