1, 2 and 3 Subway Lines Completely Suspended from 96th to 42nd After Water Main Break Floods Area Near Lincoln Center (Updated)


Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Street. Photo by poboy.

An enormous water main break flooded several streets of the Upper West Side on Monday morning around 5 a.m.

The 1,2 and 3 train were suspended between 42nd and 96th Streets. It was not clear when they will reopen. The B and C trains were still operating in the neighborhood, however.

Update, 8:45 a.m. — “DEP crews are on scene and have shut off the water and stopped the leak. They will now proceed with necessary repairs,” Edward Timbers, a spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection, emailed WSR. As far as the safety of drinking water following the break, Timbers wrote, “While it is not harmful — residents should avoid drinking discolored water. This can happen during water main breaks (as well as firefighting and construction) when the mains are disturbed and the normal water flow may change direction suddenly.”

Update, 12:30 p.m.: Subway remains shut down as MTA inspects tracks, which were covered in water.

The break flooded the streets from 65th to 61st on Broadway and Columbus Avenue, according to ABC. Firefighters were checking nearby building basements for flooding. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the break.

The area near Lincoln Center became a lake.


Photo by Barry Langer.

Guests at the Empire Hotel were even apparently walking around with trash bags over their legs.

Other subway lines were being inundated:


The 72nd Street station was very crowded too. Photo by Tom.

This guy was in the middle of it, and wasn’t happy:

Massive Water Main Break Near Lincoln Center @CitizenApp

W 63rd St & Broadway 5:10:27 AM EST

We will have more on this shortly.

NEWS | 32 comments | permalink
    1. Elizabeth says:

      MTA has, as of 8:44am, still not posted an advisory on their sites. Gross incompetence continues.

      • J.L. Rivers says:

        They have an alerts subscription system that works better than the website. You can sign up to get emails about specific lines. I believe you can also get them via text messages.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        the notice on the MTA phone app (MyMTA) was up there much earlier, at least by 8 AM.

        • EricaC says:

          I also received notices through the Notify NYC app. (Thanks, Bloomberg.)

          Maybe it’s “allocation of resources”, not “gross incompetence”. I was impressed the system was back up and running within hours, after a flood of those proportions.

    2. ben says:

      B/C at 96 had people spilling out of the station for downtown trains…

    3. B.W. says:

      My water was brown when I turned on the shower this morning, and I live at 85th and Columbus, so definitely check the water before drinking or using to cook.

      • Melanie W says:

        At first glance water looked fine but if collected in a glass you can clearly see its contaminated. The city should have issued a warning this morning.

    4. Katz27 says:

      Water is orange and unsafe to drink at 104th and Broadway

    5. tom says:

      “First Responders Brave Inches-High Floodwaters”.

      Lol. Using brave as the verb seems a bit of a strech.

    6. Mark L says:

      I live in one of the buildings right by the water main break. Huge disaster. Basement flooded. No elevators, no heat, no hot water.

      • Adam says:

        What’s that word again…..oh yeah, infrastructure. Can Trump’s New York City get any Washington money to help? Or is that cash only for rebuilding the overseas places we bomb?

        • Jay says:

          What does Trump have to do with NYC’s infrastructure; most of which is solely NYC’s responsibility for managing, funding and maintaining?

          Nothing.

        • Chris Curry says:

          Sure DeBlasio has a back up plan….after his nap and gym….maybe a long lunch to avoid any trouble getting home while the roads are flooded?

        • Jeff Berger says:

          Um, yeah about that. You have been screaming “not my president, resist, impeach” since day 1, Weekly protests at his properties, you took his name off his buildings, you harassed his family, the NY delegation in Congress is attempting to remove him from office, and you really think he is now going to help us? Really? Why should he come to our aid when you have shown him such unprecedented disrespect.

          • EricaC says:

            You have a point, but you know he was never going to help NYC, because he only helps when he gets something in return. NYC never goes Republican, so what would he get out of helping us? His base hates everything about this city.

    7. Nto says:

      Brown tap water w 83rd riverside

    8. Isabelle says:

      This is the third water main break in this immediate area I know of this year! I photographed the last one a few months ago. But keep building those 700′ towers like the one on 66th Street. Who cares if the infrastructure can support all these out of scale, zoning violating buildings! As long as builders can make lots of money the ecosystem doesn’t matter.

      • LKLA says:

        Neither this incident nor the prior two you reference were due to anything other than negligence from NYC.

        These incidents are yet more examples and further proof that NYC is being mis-managed and poorly governed.

        How about the increase in traffic jams, the deteriorating subway, the heightened noise, the worsening homeless situation, the ongoing poor results of the school system, the poor state of many of our parks and public spaces, … they are all the fault of the private sector?!?!

        Let us not be blinded by politics, by what this or that politician says he or she will do. Reality is that NYC is being led by a completely incompetent mayor/administration.

        • EricaC says:

          LKLA, it seems that much of this comes from infrastructure neglect, which has been going on for decades. There is a legitimate question as to why the city would approve new buildings – especially very large ones – when it knows the infrastructure is already overtaxed. While this does reflect a century of short-term thinking and failure to make the hard choices, the buildings are not irrelevant.

      • irish says:

        this year is only 13 days old….

      • Neve says:

        Isabelle: Your comment seems right on the point. How much stress from tall and supertall bldgs can the infrastructure handle.

    9. Madd Donna says:

      Thought the color of my kitchen sink water looked brownish but had no idea about the water main break until I got to work. I live on Columbus in the 70’s. Why is everyone’s water now brown, rusty and unsafe to drink or cook when the water main break is near Lincoln Center? Oh great, yet another inconvenience we are forced to live with!

    10. SF says:

      Brown water in toilets on West 75th

    11. LKLA says:

      Deblasio doing a great job improving the quality of life of every NYer.

      Go Deblasio!

    12. Bob says:

      At least it’s a fairly warm day for January. Can you imagine what this would have been like if it were 20 or 10 degrees?

      But NYC’s water mains are a century old. They only fix/replace them when there’s a break.

      (I commend Isabelle on her well-thought comment!)

    13. 3rdWorldNYC says:

      Two words to describe New York’s entire infrastructure situation:

      Deferred Maintenance.

    14. Lynn says:

      Would someone please explain why the MTA can not add more 104 busses when something like this happens. Used to be a great bus line, but several years ago, something changed, and it became a one bus every 20-30 minutes line, even in the rush hour!

      • Ed says:

        They would need dozens of buses – at least 100 – to make a dent in the displaced ridership of the subways. Where are they going to get the buses and drivers on short notice? Strip buses off other routes, and assume the drivers know the 104 route? This stuff takes planning. Better idea: this is the first water main break I can remember in this area. SO WHAT? A few thousand days of no water problem and one half-day of this? Deal with it – there are real problems out there.

    15. Ed says:

      I am amazed (saddened, actually) by all the commenters who can’t deal with one half-day of inconvenience. These things happen – put this in perspective. People have unrealistic expectations about how things should be. The city is cleaner, better run and safer than in the last few decades. It’s far from perfect, but it generally works well. I’ll take a day like today than ANY day halfway across the world.

      • Christine says:

        I agree with you, Ed. Apparently many people on this thread haven’t traveled around the world where daily commuting requirets 5-6-7 hour of the day. Get a life people, get some perspective. Get out of your neighborhood once in a while. Infrastructure is old. Sometimes it breaks. One day, you too, will be old and decrepit and breaking down. Deal with it.

        • EricaC says:

          While the level of hysteria is a little high (this is an anonymous blog), the fact that people commute longer distances does not change the fact that we pay a lot of taxes and put up with a lot to live here, and it is frustrating that we still can’t seem to operate a city that doesn’t seem to have terrible infrastructure problems.