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Eerie underworld beneath Manhattan

Mary Altaffer / AP

A contractor works on the East Side Access project beneath midtown Manhattan in New York.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Mary Altaffer / AP

Contractors work on the East Side Access project beneath midtown Manhattan, in New York. The East Side Access is one of three bold projects under New York that will expand what's already the nation's biggest mass-transit system by 2019.

Mary Altaffer / AP

Contractors work on the East Side Access project beneath midtown Manhattan in New York.

Mary Altaffer / AP

In this Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 photo, contractors work on the East Side Access project beneath midtown Manhattan, in New York. The East Side Access is one of three bold projects under New York that will expand what's already the nation's biggest mass-transit system by 2019.

 By Verena Dobnik, AP

Published at 3:07pm ET: NEW YORK - Sixteen stories below Grand Central Terminal, an army of workers is blasting through bedrock to create a new commuter rail concourse with more floor space than New Orleans' Superdome, just one of three audacious projects going on beneath New York City's streets to expand what's already the nation's biggest mass transit system.

But even with blasting and machinery grinding through the rock day and night, most New Yorkers are blithely unaware of the construction or the eerie underworld that includes a massive, eight-story cavern, miles of tunnels and watery, gravel-filled pits.

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