So, there's good news and there is bad news about the ongoing Second Avenue Subway construction. The good news (for neighbors bothered by the blasting required to dig the tunnel) is that the MTA has decided to halt the blasting until December 5 while they try and figure out how to push less debris into the air. The bad news is that in order to stay close to budget while doing so the MTA had to fire some workers the week before Thanksgiving. "I have a very difficult time with that, knowing what time of year it is," MTA capital construction program executive William Goodrich said at a Community Board 8 meeting last night in which the halt was announced.

The unexpected news was met with "a burst of applause" by the Upper East Siders who had come out to complain about the $4.4 billion project. "I open my windows at night and let me tell you, the air is putrid," neighbor Donna Pressman said. "It’s like gun powder that is going up in the air," another neighbor, Jean Schoenberger, said. "It is a smoke cloud that is very pervasive."

"Basically, we did this because we heard loud and clear from the community. We heard loud and clear from elected officials," Woodrich explained at the meeting.

According to the MTA part of the problem with the dust is due to having blasts (related to digging out the stations for the new subway) done close together. The MTA says that, at least, in the future they will try and spread the blasts out more.

There is currently no word from the MTA on how many workers (all of whom were employed by contractors) were let go while the blasting is on break (or if they will get their jobs back when it resumes). But hey, if the Frank Sinatra-singing worker was one of them (and we have no reason to believe he was) at least he's got a backup career?