The perennially delayed 2nd Avenue subway project has always been a chimerical creature, disappearing and reappearing in New Yorkers' collective consciousness for generations. But now it appears as if the dream is finally becoming a reality, at least in part—MTA chairman Tom Prendergast says that unless Governor Cuomo can close the MTA's $15 billion capital program chasm, the much-anticipated 2nd Avenue line won't extend from 96th Street to 125th Street in Harlem.

As for those stations at and below 96th, the MTA took a tone of cautious optimism this morning. In fact, MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu estimated that the southern section of the Second Avenue subway line is 82% complete.

At today's City Council Transit Committee meeting, Horodniceanu presented new renderings and photographs of progress along the line, which we've featured here. And while there's been no shortage of 2nd Avenue progress porn as construction has plodded along these past several years, now there are glimpses of things we straphangers recognize. We're talking tiles, escalators, and station lettering.

Lexington Avenue/63rd Street is 88% complete, according to Horodniceanu, who showed off photos today of tiling along the tunnels, labeled "Lex 63" in a modish, overlapping font. Tiles are also being laid in the station floors, and the ventilation system has been installed ("As you can see, it's quite massive," Horodniceanu pointed out.)

At 72nd Street, which is reportedly 56% complete, the tunnel under the entrance at 301 E. 69th Street is currently being dug from both directions to make up for lost time. 72nd Street also has its power equipment room underway, and partially-completed escalators and stairwells.

At 96th Street, which is 67% complete, crews are working on above-ground construction at entrances on 93rd and 97th streets. The progress images released today include renderings of both entrances. Horodniceanu estimates that the roadway ripped up to put in the 96th Street station will be drivable again by the end of the year.

Horodniceanu admitted that 86th Street is the least advanced of the lot, due to early contracting delays. "It's advancing," he said, "But not as quickly as we'd like to see it." The MTA has instated a second shift in hopes of speeding up the construction process. "We will continue that until the end," Horodniceanu said.