Last Blast

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:05

MTA finally ends underground explosions on Second Avenue

Good news for businesses on the Upper East Side: the constant blasting noises from the Second Avenue subway project are finally over.

According to the MTA, the project's final blast occurred at 5:21 p.m. on Monday, November 18, on the north side of 86th and Second Avenue.

"This is a significant milestone, and one which I am sure will be welcomed by all of our Second Avenue community neighbors," Michael Horodniceanu, President of MTA Capital Construction, said.

Well, maybe not all of them.

Charles Rosa, the night doorman at the Manhattan ? a residential high rise at 244 East 86th Street between Second and Third avenues ? says the milestone is more academic than visceral.

"Now they're drilling," Rosa told Our Town. "It's not 'boom!' anymore. Now it's chk-chk-chk-chk!" he said, imitating the sound of a drill. "At seven in the morning, that's all you hear."

A butcher at Schaller and Weber ? the self-described "Masters of Charcuterie" at the corner of 86th and 2nd Avenue ? said he never considered the blasting noise the real problem facing his business on Second Avenue.

"What's keeping people away is all the stuff in the street, not the blasting," he said. "I don't think the noise is what keeps people away."

According to a MTA press release, the controlled blasting operations in the Second Avenue subway construction area began on November 4, 2009, at 96th Street, with further blasting used for cavern excavations at 72nd, 86th, and 96th streets.

Mick McCullagh, owner of Molly Pitchers Alehouse at East 85th Street and Second Avenue, worries that his business ?which has suffered from suppressed foot traffic over the last several years ? will not reap the benefits of the completed subway line, when it does finally open. McCullagh leases his storefront, and his lease runs up in conjunction with the new train's slated arrival.

"In the last six years, it [MTA construction] has absolutely hurt business," McCullagh told Our Town. "There's no difference if blasting is done or not. The blasting was done underground. We'd hear it muffled. Every now and then, you hear something. But the real problem is that we've lost visibility. People avoid Second Avenue now, particularly families with strollers."

The $4.45 billion project to extend the Q Line along Second Avenue is the largest expansion of the subway system in generations, and will both help expand access to Yorkville while simultaneously diffusing some of the ridership away from on the overburdened Lexington Avenue 4, 5, and 6 line. The Second Avenue Q, with new stations at 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street, is expected to open for service in December 2016.