Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Second Avenue Subway - It's a Man Thing

Life wasn't meant to be easy. - Malcolm Fraser, 22nd Prime Minister of Australia

House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, 'alf the floor was missing, and we were all 'uddled together in one corner for fear of falling. - Second Yorkshireman - Monty Python's Flying Circus

Halloween Bus Rider 2010
North of 60th Street on Second Avenue a mean breed of people are emerging. And it's nothing to do with it being Halloween, although living on Second Avenue is starting to feel like living in Halloween-land.

It all started back in 1929 when a plan was formed; a plan to build the Second Avenue Subway Line (aka "The Line That Time Forgot") to service the east side of Manhattan. About forty million New York minutes later, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) remembered. "Oh yeah, about that subway," I can imagine the board members saying.

And just who are these sleepy board members? On a whim I decided to look them up. You can see them HERE. And it was just as I had suspected. They are mostly men. I just KNEW it.

I knew this, not because most governing bodies are composed of men, not because I believe in the existence of glass ceilings and male dominated workplaces. I knew it because of the way the construction of the Second Avenue Subway is proceeding.


Waiting For .... Ever
The first Second Avenue Subway construction plan involves the construction of new tunnels between 105th and 63rd Streets.

Now any reasonable person would think, gee there's going to be a lot of disruption, digging up the roads and boring down to the bowels of the earth; let's do one bit at a time to minimize the resulting above-ground mess. After all, it isn't as if all this can be done quickly. Originally scheduled to take four years, it's now looking more like eleven. Eleven years of living in a construction site! And we are only 3.5 years along. It isn't pretty.

Because instead of doing a few blocks at a time, the planners, in their wisdom, decided to dig up the whole stretch - from 105th to 63rd Street.

Happier Days 
t's like those people (predominantly men) who when they remodel houses, instead of doing one room at a time, decide to rip up the floor and walls of every single room to re-wire, plumb, whatever - thus rendering every room uninhabitable all at once. And this in the name of efficiency. Bizarre.

Me, I prefer to be miserable one room, one block at a time.

That's reason #1 as to why the people who live along the northern stretch Second Avenue are unhappy.

And then, as if it wasn't bad enough having sidewalks narrowed, roads full of machines and houses shaking themselves to bits so that the inhabitants have to be evacuated, permanently - in June 1010 the MTA decided to cut the number of buses running down Second.

Yes it's all too much even for a New Yorker to handle. What with the elevators not working in my building and the buses not turning up on time, I'll soon be getting to work several hours after it's time to leave.

I'm morphing into Monty Python's Flying Circus's Fourth Yorkshireman:

"Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah."

My name is Kathleenwng and I approve this meassage


Vanessa said...

"Me, I prefer to be miserable one room, one block at a time."

My goodness I have to agree completely!!!.

The day after the tornados hit NY on (9/16) my landlords hit my building like one too. All of a sudden they awake from their 20 year coma and decide it is time to make home improvements.
ALL AT ONCE. (I wonder if they work for the MTA?)

So to make a long story short as they proceed to dismantle my kitchen AND bathroom in every possible way, destroying every free momment we have,(They do not have jobs by the way),coming on weekends and weeknights cause they "just want to do this" and they "just want to do that".

After 20 years of not being able to get them to do anything, now we can't get them to stop. We could not take it anymore and yelled at them to go away. Actually my monster yelled at them. It worked. It's what it takes.

So then we were able to finish painting the kitchen ourselves and once we did that, they never came back. Still waiting for the plumber, and now they want to replace all the windows.

I think I'll go live under a bus.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an ignorant and broadly insulting post. I'm really happy you're not in charge of the project.

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