For people who lived in or near New York City during the past century, the completion of the Second Avenue subway line was as elusive as the legendary Jersey Devil, or finding someone who doesn’t claim to be part Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. But an NBC reporter praised the completion of the first stage of the project as a great example of “showing people that government can still do big things.”
This portion of the subway line took 96 years to complete.
Now scheduled to open on New Year’s Day, 2017, the line was proposed in 1920. Put on hold because of the Great Depression, the project sputtered along until 2007 when construction restarted in earnest. One of several photos from the line’s checkered history shows Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller breaking ground for its construction in 1972. The 30 block expansion is the largest in 50 years for the aging subway system, with a price tag of $4.5 billion.
But when current New York governor Andrew Cuomo (son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo and brother of CNN host Chris Cuomo) finally managed to get the first phase of this long awaited project up and running, NBC’s hailed it as a great day for government programs.
On NBC’s Today on December 30, after an odd moment of Cuomo enthusiastically declaring that “And that’s when I said, no, we’re gonna make the deadline, just to show you that we can make the deadline. And we’re gonna do it right.” (Is THAT how deadlines work?), NBC correspondent Craig Melvin pitched a softball to the governor, “This was also about showing people that government can still do big things.”
Naturally, Cuomo agreed. “Government can still do big things because, Craig, if you don’t believe it can, then we defeat ourselves.”
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The new subway line is “designed to look and feel unique,” according to the full NBC report. This includes decking the walls of the platforms and tunnels with artwork. “Lots of art,” Melvin noted, “why was that so important?”
“Yes,” Cuomo explained. “Even if a child never walks into a museum, just their daily experiences, living in the state, they should be exposed to art. That gives them that aspect, that perspective, and that creativity.”
At the end of the segment, displaying the eagerness of journalists to move on to 2020, Melvin added “I also asked him, you know, there’s been a lot of scuttlebutt about, perhaps, him running for the democratic nomination for president in 2020. He chuckled, walked off, left the subway. But he’s very proud of the subway system.