After years and years of deliberation, the first phase of the Second Avenue subway is finally getting built. The effort is a lot more complex than you'd even imagine. The New York Times takes us behind the scenes in its third installment of the Living City series—showing us the unintended byproduct of heavy infrastructural construction: The near death of a neighborhood's economy.

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The subways are a mess in New York. Even installing what are considered basic amenities in a modern transit system these days requires an enormous effort for New York. But building an entirely new section of tunnel for a new train for a neighborhood that has needed one badly for a long time? Well that's a special kind of difficult.

Many Upper East Side businesses near the construction of the Second Ave subway have suffered massive foot traffic losses. Huge barricades outside their stores block car spaces and deter pedestrians. Meanwhile, MTA President of Capital Construction Michael Horodniceanu is committed to expanding the city's metro because the city simply won't stop growing—but perhaps we need better ways to accommodate construction in order to avoid a massive economic disaster for the neighborhoods affected. [NY Times]