(TIML NEWS) As a New Yoker…Its about damn time. New year. New commute. Many New Yorkers returned to work this morning on the shiny, new Second Avenue subway, a long-delayed project that took nearly a century to bring to reality. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s subway system, opened three new stations — at East 96th Street, East 86th Street and East 72nd Street — to the public this week in the first phase of the project.
For some commuters, it was a faster way to work or more convenient. For others, it was simply an experience not to be missed.
Vicente Herrera, 38, a home health aide, snapped selfies at the East 72nd Street station. He said he had never seen subway tracks that looked so good — not caked in black grime. Mr. Herrera, who lives in Washington Heights, inhaled deeply. “The smell,” he said. “It smells like new.”
The Q train roared through the new stations, carrying many satisfied customers. Some had gladly switched from their regular commutes on the No. 4, 5, and 6 trains on the nearby Lexington Avenue subway, the most crowded line in the United States.
On Tuesday morning, some Lexington Avenue trains and platforms appeared less crowded, in part because foot traffic seemed lighter after the holiday but also because there was now another option. At the 86th Street Station, a platform controller for the M.T.A. who did not give her name said that normally by 7:45 a.m., two or three rows of people would be waiting to board the No. 6 train. Today, there was only a single row.
“I have a lot of hope it will relieve some of the congestion,” Marie Kallio, 50, an administrator from the Bronx, said as she waited on the platform.
Emilia Goued, 14, a high school student, said she often had to push her way onto the No. 4 or 5 express trains or wait for several to go by because there was simply no room. Not today. “I feel like I can get on any express train that comes,” she said.
Some riders could not wait to try out the Second Avenue subway. At the East 96th Street station, where a sign announced that service would start at 6 a.m., a group huddled outside 15 minutes early. Several tried to slip in past a gate at the entrance, only to be turned back into the morning chill by subway workers.
“Two minutes,” one worker said aloud, as the clock ticked down.
Jim Hopkins, 61, was one of the first through the turnstile. “This is perfect for me,” said Mr. Hopkins, the chief operating officer of a real estate investment business who lives on East 96th Street, estimating that he would save about 10 minutes on his new commute to Herald Square. “Now I can get in a little earlier and work a little later.”
Ten blocks south, at the East 86th Street station, Katherine Chango, 19, of Brooklyn, waited on the platform to go home after delivering newspapers on the Upper East Side. “I wanted to check it out for the first time,” said Ms. Chango, who said the new line was more convenient than the Lexington Avenue subway. “It’s more of a struggle to take the 6 or the 4 for me,” she said.
The Second Avenue subway, on just its third day of service, had fans already.
Duane Butler, 62, wore a black baseball cap with a yellow Q train logo and “2nd Ave Local” stitched on the back. Mr. Butler, who lives on East 90th Street between First and Second Avenues, was on his way to work at a Barnes & Noble corporate office near Union Square. In his jacket pocket was a stopwatch to time his first commute on the new line. “I clicked it on as soon as I walked out the door,” he said.
Still, this was not Mr. Butler’s first time on the new subway line. He has been riding it since it opened.
“I think it’s breathtaking,” he said. FYI Its the new line for the Q Train..and a new T train Line.