As signs featuring images of the new $351 million 96th Street subway station adorn buildings lining the construction site along Second Avenue, area business owners are daring to hope that the completed site will give their enterprises a boost.
The new station, linked to stops at East 86th Street and East 72nd Street, will be up and running by December 2016, MTA officials told the New York Daily News. And that date can’t come fast enough for businesses lining the hard hat-strewn corridor.
“Any change is good,” Demetrious Glekas, manager of Nick’s pizza parlor at 1814 Second Avenue at East 94th Street, told the Daily News. Since drilling for the new subway line began in 2008, Glekas estimated he has lost 25 percent of his customers.
The commercial vacancy rate has also shot up in the area, from East 65th to East 105th streets along Second Avenue, hanging around 15 percent since the construction project launched. Those rates, according to an analysis by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, are expected to fall as construction winds down and subway-adjacent storefronts are quickly snapped up.
“There is a sense that we made it through the worst part,” Dave Goodside, who owns Beach Cafe at 1326 Second Avenue at East 69th Street, told the Daily News. “We hope to see this project over. We hope the good times will come back.” [NYDN] — Julie Strickland