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Second Avenue Sagas

The doubts, inconveniences, and multimillion-dollar offers that come with living amid the scaffolding.


Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

The Aggravated Renter
Kelly Kreth, publicist
I’ve been here almost two years in my rent-stabilized apartment on 89th and First, and the construction has been a constant annoyance. It’s always noisy. When I walk my dog, I tend to steer clear of Second Avenue because the walkways are narrower, and it’s just harder to navigate; but for shopping, going there is unavoidable. To get downtown, what should be an easy route down Second Avenue is a nightmare. The bus schedule is so wonky; the stops keep getting changed. Really, I just gave up and have started taking more cabs. And then I worry that when the subway’s completed, it’ll just make the area more congested because there’ll be more people who’ll want to move here. I’ll believe it when I see it. At this point, the Second Avenue subway’s like a big urban legend.


Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

The Longtime Business Owner
Jeremy Schaller, owner of the butcher Schaller & Weber at 1654 Second Ave.
We’ve been here for 78 years, and when construction started in 2010, we experienced about a 20 percent decline in business, then it plateaued. They put the fence for construction work right in front of our property. The worst were the explosions. It was constant maintenance with dust and everything. A lot of the businesses that started before the fence came up disappeared real quick. The MTA told us they’re going to move the fence, so that’ll be incredible. We’ve recently started to get calls from people trying to buy the building from us. Meatpacking District kind of offers. Tens of millions. We have no intention of selling. But maybe one day my kids can have a very nice life.


The Optimistic New Buyer
Giuseppe Pica, interior designer
I bought a one-bedroom apartment on 79th Street near First Avenue six weeks ago. At first I wanted to buy closer to Lexington because I knew the neighborhood well and it was near Central Park. But the market was so aggressive I started looking east of Third. Price-wise, as an investment, I decided to buy here. I’m optimistic that by the end of 2016, the subway will be working, but I specifically didn’t want to buy on top of the construction. And I didn’t want to be so close to the new stations because of the crowds. Since it’s a new apartment, I haven’t had many visitors, but I recently had two friends come over, and they definitely took cabs But it’s just a transitional time. I think it’ll be incredible once it’s all done. I’m here for the long haul.


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