Water Main Bursts Near Times Sq., Sending About 2 Million Gallons Into the Subway System

NY Transit Authority chief Richard Davey said that a twenty-inch main between 43rd & 44th Sts. ruptured around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29, leading to 1.8 million gallons of water cascading onto local subway routes. The 1, 2, & 3 lines were temporarily affected, as aboveground streets turned into rivers. Repairs were still well underway as of Thursday, August 31.

| 01 Sep 2023 | 10:20

A water main break caused a titanic volume of water to rush through Midtown streets and into the subway system during the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 29, leading to a temporary suspension of the 1, 2, & 3 lines.

NY Transit Authority Chief Richard Davey clarified at a mid-morning press conference that a twenty-inch main had burst between 43rd & 44th Sts. at around 3. a.m., and that subway service had largely resumed–albeit with delays. According to Davey, the catastrophe affected 300,000 commuters. He noted that 1.8 million gallons of water had been unleashed before the damaged main could be sealed off. Associated Press News reported that the pipe in question was nearly 130 years old.

Rohit Aggarwala, the Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection, told the press that it took around an hour for the agency to pinpoint the main break. Excavation to repair the broken pipe began in the vicinity of 40th St. & 7 Ave. A visit to the site on August 31 revealed a massive hole remaining in the street, with red ConEd trucks on standby and heavy construction machinery being deployed.

Video footage of subway tunnels flooding was reminiscent of a submarine war film, with loads of water cascading onto the tracks below. Footage from the Citizen app also depicted rivers caused by the break coursing through the streets of Midtown.