96th Street (Second Avenue Subway)

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96th Street
under construction
Future New York City Subway rapid transit station
Second Avenue Subway Update - 96th Street Cavern (16051240992).jpg
Station cavern construction in December 2014
Station statistics
Address 96th Street & Second Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Borough Manhattan
Locale Upper East Side, Yorkville
Coordinates 40°47′03″N 73°56′50″W / 40.7841°N 73.9472°W / 40.7841; -73.9472Coordinates: 40°47′03″N 73°56′50″W / 40.7841°N 73.9472°W / 40.7841; -73.9472
Division B (IND)
Line       IND Second Avenue Line
Services under construction
Transit connections Bus transport NYCT Bus: M15 (SB), M15 SBS (SB), M96
Structure Underground
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened December 30, 2016; 2 months' time (2016-12-30)[1][2][3] (Planned)
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Station succession

Next Handicapped/disabled access north (Terminal): under construction
Next Handicapped/disabled access south 86th Street: under construction

96th Street is an under-construction station on the first phase of the IND Second Avenue Line of the New York City Subway.[4][5][6] Located at the intersection of Second Avenue and 96th Street on the Upper East Side, it is expected to open on December 30, 2016 and will be served by the Q train at all times, and by some N trains during rush hours.[7] The station will be the northern terminus for the Q after the 1.5 miles (2.4 km)-long[8] first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opens;[9][10] the Q will be rerouted from its current terminus at Astoria – Ditmars Boulevard to serve 96th Street.[14][7] The station will have two tracks and an island platform.[5]

Station layout[edit]

G Street level Exits/Entrances
M Mezzanine Fare control, station agent, MetroCard vending machines
Platform level
Southbound No service (present)
NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg (NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg rush hours) (under construction) toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (86th Street)
Island platform, not in service
Southbound No service (present)
NYCS-bull-trans-Q.svg (NYCS-bull-trans-N.svg rush hours) (under construction) toward Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (86th Street)
Station construction in October 2013

The station is built so that it is more wide open than most other underground subway stations in the system.[15] Its design was likened to a Washington Metro station by Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction.[16] The platform is approximately 49 feet (15 m) below ground, making the station the shallowest of the three Phase 1 stations.[17][18] The platform for the 96th Street station, like the other Second Avenue Subway stations, is 27.8 feet (8.5 m) wide.[19][20]

The station will have air-cooling systems to make it at least 10 °F (6 °C) cooler than other subway stations during the summer.[21] This will require the station to have large ventilation and ancillary buildings, rather than traditional subway grates.[22] The station will also be compliant with current fire codes, whereas most existing stations are not.[23]

Track layout[edit]

Track layout
End of tail tracks
Beginning of tail tracks
Continuation to 86 St

South of the station underneath 92nd Street will be a diamond crossover for terminating trains.[24][25][26] A section of tunnel north of the station, built in the 1970s between 99th and 105th Streets,[27] is being renovated with tail tracks and will be used for train storage north of the 96th Street station, with the ability to store four trainsets.[28]


Station artwork will be a series of artworks on the porcelain wall panels by artist Sarah Sze.[25][29][30] The artwork will contain blue, violet, and lavender landscapes.[31][32] The installation is expected to be permanent.[33]

Entrances, exits, and ancillary buildings[edit]

There are 3 entrances and exits under construction, comprising 10 escalators and one elevator.[25] Also under construction are also two ancillary buildings that will store station equipment.[34][35]

Entrance 3 under construction in July 2016
Location Exit Type Number of exits
Entrance 1
Within building, SW corner of Second Avenue and 94th Street
Entrance 2
Plaza, NE corner of Second Avenue and 94th Street
Entrance 3
Second Avenue, west side between 95th Street and 96th Street
Elevator Handicapped/disabled access 1
Entrance 3
Plaza, SW corner of Second Avenue and 96th Street

In addition, the station has 2 ancillaries. Ancillary 1 is at the northeast corner of Second Avenue and 93rd Street, while ancillary 2 is at the SW corner of Second Avenue and 97th Street.[34][35]

In 2009, there were disputes about the locations of the station entbrances, which are all south of 96th Street.[36] This was particularly of debate because 96th Street divides the neighborhoods of the Upper East Side and East Harlem.[37][38]



The Second Avenue Line was originally proposed in 1919 as part of a massive expansion of what would become the Independent Subway System (IND).[39][40]:203 Work on the line never commenced, as the Great Depression crushed the economy.[41] Numerous plans for the Second Avenue Subway appeared throughout the 20th century, but these were usually deferred due to lack of funds. In anticipation of the never-built new subway line, the Second and Third Avenue elevated lines were demolished in 1942 and 1955, respectively.[42][43] The Second Avenue Elevated had one station at 92nd Street and another at 99th Street,[44] and the Third Avenue Elevated had a stop on nearby Third Avenue at 99th Street.[45]


Muck handling on Second Avenue and 94th Street

As part of the New York City Transit Authority's 1968 Program for Action, the construction of the full-length Second Avenue Subway was proposed. It was to be built in two phases—the first phase from 126th to 34th Streets, the second phase from 34th to Whitehall Streets.[46][47]

The line's planned stops in Manhattan, spaced farther apart than those on existing subway lines, proved controversial; the Second Avenue line was criticized as a "rich man's express, circumventing the Lower East Side with its complexes of high-rise low- and middle-income housing and slums in favor of a silk stocking route."[40]:218 People protested for almost a year over the lack of stations at 72nd and 96th Streets; while a Lenox Hill (72nd Street) station[48] was added in October 1970, the 96th Street station was still not in the official plans, despite the proximity of the Metropolitan Hospital Center to the proposed station.[40]:220 In response to public outcry, the MTA announced the addition of a station at 96th Street in 1971.[49]

A combination of Federal and State funding was obtained, and despite the controversy over the number of stops and route, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 27, 1972 at Second Avenue and 103rd Street.[50][51][52] Construction began shortly thereafter on what was to be the 99th–105th Streets segment, which was projected to cost $17.48 million (worth about $98,886,000 today).[53] However, the city soon experienced its most dire fiscal crisis yet, due to the stagnant economy of the early 1970s, combined with the massive outflow of city residents to the suburbs, and in September 1975 construction on the line stopped, and the tunnels were sealed.[52][54] Over the next few decades, the MTA regularly inspected and maintained the tunnel segments (spending $20,000 a year by the early 1990s), to maintain the structural integrity of the streets above, and in case construction would ever resume. Trespassers would often camp in the tunnels until the MTA increased security.[55]

Work above ground

In 1999, the Regional Plan Association considered a full-length Second Avenue Subway, which include 96th Street as one of its planned 31 stations. The station would serve the Metropolitan Hospital at 97th Street and the then-new high-rise buildings south of 96th Streets.[56]

Finally, in March 2007, the MTA restarted the Second Avenue Subway project, and awarded the first construction contract at that time.[57][58][59] In April 2007, the second round of planning for the station was finalized.[60][61]


A ceremonial ground-breaking for the Second Avenue Subway was held on April 12, 2007 three blocks north of the station.[62][63] The contractor prepared the initial construction site at 96th Street on April 23, 2007.[64] A tunnel boring machine (TBM) was originally expected to arrive six to eight months after construction began, but the utility relocation and excavation required to create its "launch box" delayed its deployment from 96th Street down to 63rd Street until May 2010.[65] By May 2010, the TBM launch box was complete, and on May 14, 2010, MTA's contractors completed the TBM installation and turned it on.[66][67][68]

Aerial view of construction

By the beginning of 2012, the slurry wall for the station site was being taken down.[69] On June 25, 2012, a $324.6 million contract was awarded to E.E. Cruz and Company and Tully Construction Company for the station's plumbing, electricity, ancillaries, and entrances.[70] In March 2013, the bulkhead separating the new construction from the 1970s-era tunnel at 99th Street was completed.[71] As of November 2013, the station was 65% excavated. Rails for the line had arrived and were being stored in the station cavern;[72][73] about one-third of the rails for the line had arrived by then, enough for tracks to be laid from 105th to 87th Streets.[74] By spring 2014, the mezzanine was completed, and roof slabs were being installed; tracks and signal brackets were also installed north of the station.[75] The waterproofing contract for the station was awarded to D-Star Waterproofers.[76]

On March 19, 2013, a construction worker got stuck in waist-deep muck at the station site;[77][78] he was extricated after four hours of rescue efforts, but nearly died after the incident.[79][80]

In mid-2013, work had resumed in the tunnel segment between 99th Street and 105th Street, involving the addition of track and signals, mechanical and plumbing equipment, and upgrading the tunnels to meet modern fire code standards.[81][82]

By April 2015, the station was 67% complete,[83] and by April 2016, the station was 91% complete.[84] The station was scheduled to be completed by June 2016,[85] but this was later pushed back to fall 2016.[86] The station is planned to open on December 30, 2016, along with the other two stations on the Second Avenue Line.[1][2][3][13]

Phase Two[edit]

Phase 2, which does not have a set timetable for construction,[87][88] is planned to extend Q train service from 96th Street to 125th Street. During Phase 2, both East Harlem segments, between 99th Street and 105th Street, and between 110th Street and 120th Street will be connected, modified, and used for normal train service. In 2007, the MTA reported that the segments were in pristine condition.[89]


Construction has temporarily made the prices of real estate decrease to "affordable" levels.[90] However, in the long run, as a result of construction, the value of real estate in the area has risen since 2013.[91][92] Although the surrounding area's real estate prices had been declining since the 1990s, there had been increases in the purchases and leases of residential units around the area, causing real estate prices to rise again.[93] Some businesses near the station's construction site have also lost profits.[94]

The Metropolitan Hospital Center, one block to the north of the station's northernmost entrance, will also be served by the new station.[95]


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External links[edit]