Ever since New York City built one of the world’s great subway systems, no promise has been more tantalizing than the proposal to build a new subway line under Second Avenue in Manhattan. Yet the Second Avenue subway--although first envisioned in the 1920s, did not open until 2017—and even then in a truncated form. In the story of this long-awaited subway line, which Philip Mark Plotch
explores in the context of the transit system around it, we learn how the subways knit York City together and how the system has staggered, revived and staggered again. In Last Subway: The Long Wait for the Next Train in New York City
(Cornell University Press, 2020), Plotch discusses the problems of uneven funding, high costs, and political machinations that hobble the subway system-- and how, on Second Avenue, they were finally overcome.
Robert W. Snyder, professor emeritus of American Studies and Journalism at Rutgers-University-Newark and Manhattan Borough Historian, is the author of Transit Talk: New York’s Bus and Subway Workers Tell their Stories and co-author of All the Nations Under Heaven: Immigrants, Migrants and the Making of New York. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.