New York City first proposed building a subway line under 2nd Ave. on Manhattan's far East Side in 1929, a plan derailed by the stock market crash, and the city broke ground on the project in 1972 (for the first time), but the Second Avenue line remained mostly just on paper until tunneling began in earnest in 2007. On Sunday, the new line opened to the public, with the promise of eased congestion and lightened traffic on the 4, 5, and 6 trains. "I was very choked up," Betsy Morris, 70, told The New Times as she rode the first train to leave the 96th Street station. "How do you explain something that you never thought would happen?"
The new subway line, served by the Q train, is only three stops — 96th, 86th, and 72nd Streets — spanning nearly two miles, with a connection to an existing line at 68th Street. It cost $4.4 billion and is expected to carry some 200,000 passengers a day, with plans to extend the line north into East Harlem. The entire New York City subway system serves an average of 5.6 million riders a day, and with the three new stops, has 472 stations, the most of any subway in the world.