Second Avenue is a station on the IND Sixth Avenue Line of the New York City Subway, located at the intersection of Second Avenue and Houston Street on the border between the East Village and the Lower East Side, in Manhattan. It is served by the F train at all times.
The station opened on January 1, 1936, as part of the portion of the Sixth Avenue Line between West Fourth Street–Washington Square and East Broadway.
From December 2001 to June 2010, this station was known on transit maps and announced on digital announcements as Lower East Side–Second Avenue, when it served as the southern terminal for V trains, which arrived and departed on either center track. Since the V's elimination, the center tracks have not been used in revenue service.
Second Avenue has two island platforms and four tracks. All trains run on the outer tracks, while the inner tracks are currently unused. When the station opened, all four Sixth Avenue tracks ran continuously from West Fourth Street through Second Avenue. During the construction of the Chrystie Street Connection in the 1950s and 1960s, the center express tracks at Broadway–Lafayette Street were severed from the tracks at Second Avenue and rerouted to the Chrystie Street subway, running through Grand Street station to the north side of the Manhattan Bridge.
West (railroad north) of the station, the inner tracks are connected by a diamond crossover before merging with the outer local tracks; this allows the station to be used as a terminal for southbound trains. East (railroad south) of the station, the local tracks continue along Houston Street before curving south into Essex Street and continuing through Delancey Street station.
The wall tiling is purple with dark purple border and lacks name tablets; the columns are concrete, and there are especially large columns with built-in benches at the centers of the platforms. Despite the station's name, the exit and mezzanine at Second Avenue is only open part-time. The full-time booth is located at the First Avenue mezzanine.
All entrances/exits are single-wide street stairs serving both platforms via the mezzanine.NW corner of Houston Street and Second Avenue
SW corner of Houston Street and Chrystie Street
NW corner of Houston Street and First Avenue
SW corner of Houston Street and Allen Street
East of the station, the center tracks also continue disused along Houston, but rise to an upper level and stub-end near Avenue A at bumper blocks. Near the end, these tail tracks begin to separate to create a provision for a center track which only extends about 10 or 15 feet and stops at the bulkhead at the end of the tunnel. It was planned that these tracks would continue under the East River to the South Fourth Street Line, part of a never-built system expansion. These tracks east of the station were previously used for train storage but became an oft-frequented spot for the homeless due to its location near local missions and soup kitchens. The area was cleared out in 1990, and corrugated metal walls with bumper blocks were installed just past the east end of the platforms to seal the tunnels.
As part of the 1929 plans for the Second Avenue Subway—which would have run directly above the existing Second Avenue station—room was left for the anticipated right-of-way above the Sixth Avenue trackways and between the two mezzanines. A large, open space is still visible over the tracks and platforms.
The current plans for the Second Avenue Subway, made in the 2000s, will not use this space; the new Houston Street station will instead be built below the existing one, with a free transfer between them. The decision to use a deeper alignment under Chrystie Street was made to simplify construction and lessen impact to the community. Second Avenue service will be tentatively provided by the T train once Phase 3 of construction is complete. When this happens, the station will become a terminal station for southbound service. There will be a double crossover north of the station. However, Phase 4 of construction will extend the line south, below Houston Street, in the direction of Hanover Square.
In addition to the current entrances, the Second Avenue Subway station will utilize a new entrance to be constructed at Second Avenue and Third Street. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Second Avenue Subway platform will be wheelchair-accessible; however, it is unknown if the Sixth Avenue Line platforms will also become accessible.