A group of school children who have been visiting the Second Avenue subway workers for eight years are some of the first members of the public to see the subway completed.
Gov. Cuomo announced that the 96th Street station on the long-awaited Second Avenue subway line would be open to the public at 2 p.m. for a sneak preview, but the children from The Manhattan New School, P.S. 290, already had the inside scoop.
They were gathered outside the subway station from morning to say farewell to the construction workers they've got to know so well. The subway is set to be open for business Jan. 1.
Since 2008, pupils in teacher Paula Rogovin's class have visited the workers every Friday to chat about the subway's progress, have pizza parties, sketch and learn.
The children even designed a special T-shirt at the behest of the contractors, which was then printed for 600 workers.
"There's Laurie on her gantry crane, and there's Rob," the children called out, pointing out their buddies in the design.
Marco Palazzi, 10, couldn't wait to see the completed subway.
"I was in kindy when I started learning about the subway," he said. "It's a very big deal."
Construction on the current iteration of the Second Avenue line began in 2007, but it has been in planning by the city since 1929 and was first proposed by a Public Service Commission engineer in 1919 as part of an expansion of the transit system.
Marco doesn't subscribe to complaints it's taken too long. "It went by really fast," he said.
Mom Gretchen Sofocleous said the best part about the school's interest in the Second Avenue subway had been seeing how appreciated the workers felt.
"I know a lot of residents have felt it's an inconvenience, so it's wonderful for the men to feel so appreciated in our community."
Seeing the Second Avenue subway finally come to completion brought mixed emotions for teacher Rogovin.
"This morning I was in tears because it's just so exciting. But it is a little sad for me, because we've just become such good friends with the workers."