Kelly Clarkson said it best: “Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.” Well, as New Yorkers, we’ve been waiting what feels like several lifetimes (100 years!) for the Second Avenue Subway to launch. So, it’s no surprise that the opening of the long-awaited, much-debated first phase – a three-station extension of the Q line from 72nd to 96th Street – on New Year’s Day was met with overwhelming fanfare and excitement.
Of course, that excitement is put on pause when you look at the rising tide of concerns (COSTS) being voiced by people far and wide. Those costs include the hard-to-swallow $4.5 billion already spent on the new stations, plus the estimated (and jaw-dropping) $6 billion price tag for phase 2, which would extend the line north three more stops to 125th Street – making it the most expensive subway in the world. (Future phases would extend the line south to Hanover Square.)
Despite that, and now that the new stations are fully operational with overnight service, what’s the consensus?
Shocking no one, people love a nice, clean subway station.
New Yorkers are used to grit – in fact, we pride ourselves on it. But what we love even more is a clean, beautiful subway station that is (until at least February, we hope) devoid of the sights and smells that might usually befall the jaded straphanger. The new stations have large platforms and higher ceilings, which decrease feelings of claustrophobia, and they also offer eye candy by way of well-received works of art by Vik Muniz, Chuck Close and Sarah Sze. Wired, Curbed and The New York Times, among others, reveled in it.
Was it really needed, though?
The reviews currently seem to be mostly positive, though slightly mixed – likely due to the line’s limited scope. A full extension of the Second Avenue subway is sorely needed to alleviate issues on the overcrowded and often delayed Lexington Avenue lines, but with estimated costs rising far beyond the lines of human decency, it will be a long and dedicated fight (and financial negotiation) to bring this line to its full potential.
How will it affect real estate on the East Side?
So far, we expect that the effect will be limited, but it’s all about location, location, location. Prices will likely rise in areas directly affected by the new stations, but until the line is extended further north and south, we won’t see a widespread effect along the East River.
Will phase 2 ever come?
We certainly hope so, for the sake of the commuting public, but it’s going to be a while. Check back with us in 2117.