In a town where big public-works projects can languish for years or even decades — how're you liking that Freedom Tower? — one is well advised to relish tangible steps wherever they can be found. And so we're pleased to report a nugget revealed during a dull MTA board meeting — "terminally boring," one staffer said — this morning: The board authorized $15 million to buy a vacant lot at Second and 93rd for emergency exit and ventilation for the Second Avenue subway's 96th Street stop. Which suggests that stop will actually, you know, be coming. Apparently the MTA reminded a developer at work on an apartment tower there of its "right to condemn," according to staff reports; he agreed to sell for a price that covered his construction costs. By getting an empty lot, the MTA avoids the need to displace existing users, which, as Bruce Ratner can tell you, can create problems. "You’re going to keep seeing stuff like this," exulted lame-duck MTA chairman Peter Kalikow, "and at some point the project goes from doubtful to inevitable." We're still not holding our breath on inevitability. —Alec Appelbaum
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