Well, color us surprised. The Second Avenue subway line has officially opened on New Year’s Day. While it’s opening may be a warm welcome to some, we’re stiiiill a little skeptical.
As reported by Gothamist, the subway started running January 1st but had some delays, embracing its role as part of the rest of the New York City subway.
Its first downtown-bound train was held at 72nd Street for over 15 minutes. Surprise, surprise.
"Train traffic ahead of us" was the only explanation given by the conductors on the new train. Inside the train cars, most riders took the delay lightly and were still excited about the new line.
We’re thinking that excitement may simmer down once the rest of the line is in place.
Now that the first phase of the Second Avenue subway is open, transit workers and officials are looking ahead to Phase 2, which would extend the line to Harlem and add three new stations at 106th, 116th, and 125th Streets. Cue dramatic music.
We don’t have a set timeline or official start date, but we do have the projected budget plan to add the extra stops: $6 billion. That’s more than a pretty penny.
Besides, who’s going to be paying out of their pocket for it? Well, anyone who’s going to be living near the new line going into Harlem, actually.
People who live near the subway stop at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets could see their rent jump by as much as $462 per month, according to StreetEasy. Already, big name developers have cast big bets on the neighborhood.
Until now, Yorkville — perhaps because it was so far from the train — has been relatively affordable. The area’s median rent is around $2,700 per month for a one bedroom compared to the citywide average of $3,300 a month, StreetEasy data shows.
In the last five years, median rents near the subway have grown 27% to $2,520 per month, according to StreetEasy. And two-bedroom condos in new developments on 1st and 2nd Avenues are in the $2 million range.
Business owners are worried that high rent could force them out of business, only to be replaced by high-end stores (not exactly uncommon or anything). There are also concerns about gentrification and longtime residents being pushed out.
But some people are not fazed by the possibility of a rush to the Upper side. “The neighborhood is intrinsically boring,” said Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University at The New York Times.
Either way, we need Jimmy McMillian to remind us that these prices are just too damn high for us to pay.