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Hellhole Opens on Second Ave.

UES stores boxed in.

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Upper East Side retailers who are about to endure Second Avenue subway construction in front of their windows have no idea what they’re in for. “The MTA hasn’t told me anything,” says Frank Lepre, of Frank Lepre Printing near 90th Street. “I have no idea what they’re gonna do.” Ignorance is bliss. Lepre’s business sits about a block from the project’s proverbial hellhole: a 70-foot-deep, 50-foot-wide pit stretching from 91st to 93rd Streets through two traffic lanes, the entry point for a 700-ton tunnel-boring machine. The machine will be (noisily) trucked in, lowered into the hole, and operated around the clock as it drills toward 63rd Street. Lepre’s office window will face a seven-foot fence, installed ostensibly to protect residents but really to protect the hole from village idiots. A nonscientific survey of businesses between 91st and 96th Streets revealed widely uninformed proprietors. “I’m glad,” says Alfonso Kaczan, manager of Don Pedro’s Tapas at 96th Street. “The subway station will be right in front of the restaurant. We’ll get more traffic.” In 2013. “The MTA says it will help businesses with visibility and sidewalk bridges, and we will hold them to that,” says City Councilman Dan Garodnick.

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