The Beauty Of New York City's Giant New Subway Tunnel

Most construction projects aren’t much to look at. New York’s new 2nd Avenue under-construction subway line is an exception--a truly impressive monument to human ingenuity.

Contemporary construction projects may lack the glamour of old New York’s Gilded Age--like, for example, the original construction of the train lines that eventually became the subway system. But images of some of the work being done right this moment under bustling streets on Manhattan’s East Side should still make you pause for appreciation.

Photos released by the MTA of construction for a new station at 72nd Street for the new 2nd Avenue line reveal a bustling hive of machinery, tarps, and scaffolding. No wonder that the line, which has been part of the system’s growth plan in some form since 1929, is expected to cost more than $17 billion.

While ground was officially broken in 2007, the system’s complicated route, zigzagging for 8.5 miles around preexisting tunnels, cables, and other infrastructure, will finally bring service to the island’s subway-free Eastern edge, supposedly by 2016. The line will also bring a new letter to the alphabet of train lines: T.

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