The Village Voice has a cover story this week on the sandhogs that are currently building the Second Ave Subway. Local 147 has been in those enormous caverns below the city for months, completeing what will be the T line on Second ave.
The video shows the immensity the project, an undertaking that inspires an almost cathedral-like awe, and harkens back a hundred years to when New York was last this ambitious.
The Second Avenue subway has been in the works for 75 years, and has experienced countless starts and stops. The Great Depression first crushed the dream of an underground east side line. Then the city began digging again in 1972, only to become too broke to finish the job.
But those underground are just trying to get the done fast and well. One of the men profiled says that the crews like to have fun down there, and that the competition between alternating crews propels them to work even harder. "We feel camaraderie, but we also feel competition."
The Voice gives a good backdrop for thesandhogs and how, since their founding in 1906, Local 147 has never been so busy as it is today.
Along with the Second Avenue subway, there is the East Side Access project, which will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal; the westward extension of the 7 train; City Water Tunnel No. 3 and the Croton Filtration Plant; the renovated South Ferry station; and the new Fulton Street Transit Center in Downtown Brooklyn. In the weeks just prior to 9/11, only 12 of Local 147's roughly 600 members had work. Today, the union is around 2,000 strong, with well more than half enjoying consistent employment throughout the recent boom.
Head over to the Voice to read more.