We are just a few months in, but the reviews are in on the Second Avenue Subway, and it is a home run! If you haven’t made it to this splendid piece of underground real estate it is must see! Friends and neighbors in the area describe the opening of the subway as “life changing”. Count me as one of the converted.
My morning commute for the past 20 years has been a simple one, East 86th Street to my real estate office on 13th Street off of Union Square. The commute was quick and convenient, if not simply utilitarian. I would take whichever train came, the 4, the 5 or the 6. That is what I call the “moving train theory”- if it is a relatively short trip, don’t worry about express vs local, just jump on the train that is moving. The actual ride lasted from 9 minutes on the express to 15 minutes on the local. While the crowding could be aggravating at times, the trip was efficient.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Second Avenue Subway Q-line. Wow! This is a completely different experience! For the first time in my life, I actually look forward to the commute. I never imagined that this would happen. The stations are bright, clean, airy, and filled with art. The platforms are wide, really wide. There is no crowding. You feel like you are travelling first class. You feel like you are in some distant, modern metropolis.The stations are state of the art with information kiosks with countdown clocks and fail safe wifi and cell service. The Upper East Side Stations, 96th, 86th, and 72nd Street are at the top of the line, so a seat, or choice of seats is available more often than not. The stations are convenient with multiple entrances blocks apart. The 86th Street station, for instance, has stations at 84th as well as 86th; 96th Street also has an entrance at 94th; and the 72nd Street Station also has an entrance at 69th. Of course, Second Avenue, itself, is suddenly much more luxurious. The construction that roiled us for a decade is gone. A new protected bike lane runs the Avenue through the whole neighborhood, the street is repaved, there are new trees, and wider sidewalks.
My new commute? 15 minutes. 15 minutes of pure luxury. I may miss the Lexington Avenue line out of sentimentality, and I’ll still take it when convenient, but I would go out of my way to ride in style on Second Avenue.