News & Press

December 11, 2016

The Second Avenue Subway: Can It Bring Sexy Back to the Upper East Side?

To hear real estate professionals talk about the old Upper East Side, in particular 1st and 2nd Avenue, you could be mistaken for thinking they were discussing some vast, featureless Siberian tundra. Words such as “desolate” and “wind-chill” are thrown into mix. But they will all be quick to tell you that advent of the 2nd Avenue subway line is throwing the old phrasebook out of the luxury penthouse window. Many of the buyers who can afford to fork out upwards of $7 million for some of the new high-end condos going up in the area, though, probably wouldn’t be caught dead on the new subway—or any subway for that matter. But brokers are celebrating the event with all the fanfare of Papal visit in Latin America.

It’s with good reason too. It’s only taken a century for the line to come to fruition. It was first proposed back in 1920 when most people’s grandparents or great grandparents hadn’t even landed in the new world, let alone thought about taking the subway. Many were just getting used to the idea of not using a horse. Construction had been derailed by the Great Depression, World War II, the city’s financial woes in the seventies and the challenges of building in one of the densest neighborhoods in the country.

The first phase of the line is scheduled to be completed this December having been under construction since 2007. It will run between 96th Street and Second Avenue and the existing 63rd Street Lines, where it will connect to the BMT Broadway Line and the rest of the subway system. The Q train will provide full-time service on phase one and will serve about 200,000 daily riders on the new extension.

Brokers and developers are celebrating the event with a clutch of new projects. Frances Katzen, of Douglas Elliman, is the exclusive agent for The Charles, on 1355 First Avenue, between 72nd and 73rd St. This new construction consists of luxury 4 bed, 4 bath full floor residences with over 3,300 square feet. With prices just shy of $7M and up, the building is now 75 percent sold. It seems hard to imagine such a property existing before the new subway line became a reality.

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