Some people are optimistic about new years, either religious or secular. They see a new year as potential new opportunities, new chances, new experiences awaiting. Other people are pessimistic, dour, even afraid of a new year and all the evils, sorrows and missed chances just galling and goading.

Then there are the many people who are somewhere in the middle. They hope a new year will be good, they assume it ain't gonna be great, and their jaded attitudes can get in the way of truly appreciating something NEW with capital letters. Many New Yorkers are like that, or at least they purport to act that way.

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But here is 2017 and many New Yorkers are actually excited about something that is NEW. Something that has been talked about and worked on and promised for so many years...and it has finally arrived! What could make denizens of the Big Apple (and tourists as well) be so pleased, especially with the demise of 2016, in many ways a rough if not awful year, for the United States and the world in general?


It is the opening of three new brand new subway train stations, the beginning of the Second Avenue Train Line!

After years and years of construction, disruption and "I'll believe it when I see it" attitudes, the Second Avenue Train Line is working. Infrastructure galore! The 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street stations have opened to the general public on New Year's Day and they are crowd pleasers. Modern and sleek, with artwork on the walls and even some trains festooned with colorful logos, these three stations are being serviced by the Q train. (New York City train lines have letters or numbers, running currently from 1 through 7, A through S plus W, with a few absent letters such as H, I, K, O and P.)

This is not just big news for "train nerds" such as my husband and me, and believe me, there are lots of train and bus and infrastructure nerds in New York City. This is big news especially because the eastern side of Manhattan has been poorly served by public transit, particularly subway trains, and there has long been intense congestion during week day rush hours. So the three stations are expected to relieve some of the crowding and get people to their destinations more quickly. And more stations are promised especially northward (south is a bigger problem to tackle) up to 125th Street in East Harlem.

I know several people who rode to and explored the three new stations on New Year's Day (and posted photos on social media, of course). But my family did not because we went to the annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim at Coney Island (and I waltzed into the cold ocean water for the fourth time in my life. It's fun and a challenge.) But we were determined to visit the Second Avenue Line on its Second Day Open!

And we did. My husband and our two daughters and I rode on the Q train to 96th Street and explored it. Then we went to 86th Street as well, and checked out the mosaics on the walls, derived from photo portraits created by esteemed artist Chuck Close. We walked around and admired the modern design of the platforms and concourse levels, and noted that the trains ride smoother and sound quieter in these three new stations.

Subway trains to some extent are great equalizers in New York City. We see commuters of all different socioeconomic levels riding. From the wealthy to the homeless, from kids going to school and tourists wide eyed, from workers traveling to their many different jobs to shoppers and everyone else, these trains bring together millions of people. And now we have three more stations, a rarity. Two years ago one new station opened on the west side of Manhattan, at 34th Street and 11th Avenue (called Hudson Yards, it mainly brings people to the Jacob Javits Convention Center). And now here are three new stations. Don't scoff at us, we are excited and happy for the most part! A new year and some progress. Amen!



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