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New Second Avenue subway line, awaited since the 1920s, finally rolls out

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — New York residents' long wait to take a subway under Manhattan's far Upper East Side is over.

At noon Sunday a stretch of the new Second Avenue line opened to the public.

Trains rolled ceremonially Saturday night, while dignitaries toasted underground, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, local elected officials and members of President Obama's cabinet, according to a news release.

The nearly 2-mile segment adds stations along Second Avenue at 96th, 86th and 72nd streets and connects them to a different subway line at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. It's seen as crucial to alleviating congestion in the nation's biggest subway system.

It's expected to carry about 200,000 riders daily.

The MTA hopes the line will reduce travel time by 10 minutes or more for riders in Manhattan. It will stretch 8.5 miles from 125th Street in Harlem to Hanover Square in lower Manhattan when completed.

Businesses along Second Avenue near the line's stops are eagerly awaiting the opening, as its expected to bring higher numbers of customers and more visibility.

Commemorative MetroCards mark the opening of the line that's decades in the making.

The city's transportation board first envisioned a Second Avenue subway in 1929.