The 20-inch main ruptured around 8:30 a.m. on Broadway between 111th and 112th streets in Morningside Heights.
As a result, Broadway was closed in both directions in the immediate area.
A store owner reported seeing the street bubble up.
"The water started coming out of it, so all of a sudden I called the fire department, I knew a disaster was going to happen," Wassim Manaeb said. "And then, all of a sudden, the street started puffing up...We started to think of evacuating, because when you see the water coming that fast I didn't know what to do."
The Department of Buildings responded after 601 West 110th Street and 2861 Broadway reported flooding in their basements.
The water shut off at 10:10 a.m., and the water began draining from roadway. Water service was restored to all customers by 11 a.m., and excavation and repair work have begun.
No significant flooding was reported, although the street in the area buckled.
Crews were digging to reach the main, which was installed in the 1920s, and repair work was expected to last a couple of days.
Nos. 2 and 3 trains were running with delays while 1 trains shared the express track between 96th Street and 135th Street, but northbound trains have resumed regular service while southbound trains continue to run express between those stops.
Buses that run on Broadway, including the M4, M104, M116, M60-SBS buses, were being diverted.
The MTA says the 110th Street subway station is open.
This follows other recent water main breaks in the area in the past few weeks.
The city says it is putting more money towards preventing future breaks.
"They did put additional money forward so we can do further capital work, water main replacement, in the coming years," DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said.
The cause of the water main break is under investigation.
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