Video: This Is How Your 2nd Avenue Subways Are Made, With A Giant Machine, Set to Surprisingly Relaxing Music


Do you have any idea what a “cutterhead” is? Maybe it sounds like something you’d put on a drill, which it is! Or maybe it sounds fairly terrifying, which it also is. But when used to create the space where there was none before that allows us to zip around underground all over the city by pulverizing rock under the east side of New York into wonderful holes that trains can travel through? The “cutterhead” you’re about to see is a thing of magnificent, industrial beauty.

Via the 92nd Street Y, there’s this video of the humongous machine that crashes through the ground and digs out the MTA’s tunnels. It’s only terrifying, really, when you think about what it could do to your face.

The cutterhead showed up on Wednesday night at 96th Street; it gets hoisted in the air with a crane, and lowered into the “launch box,” as you’ll see. They have to then spend the next few weeks just putting the cutterhead on the Tunnel Boring Machine, and then they’ll start to drill. Given the nature of how compelling a simple video about a drill bit is, watching this thing in action will likely be nothing short of incredible.

Except for the people who live on or near 96th on the East Side, for whom the novelty of this will imaginably wear off quickly.