The number seven is proving to be an unlucky number for Long Island City.
Once again, the No. 7 train will not run in the area for multiple weekends, starting next month.
For the October 12-13, October 19-20, October 26-27, November 9-10 and November 23-24 weekends, there will be no service on the subway line between the Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza stations from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday, according to the MTA.
During these weekends, there will be a free shuttle running during between the Vernon-Jackson and Queensboro Plaza stops. The MTA is also increasing Astoria line service during the shutdowns.
But the alternative service isn’t enough for residents and business owners who say they’ve suffered through too many No. 7 train weekend shutdowns.
There will also be weekend suspensions in early 2014, but no dates have been set yet, said an MTA spokesperson.
In early 2013, the train was suspended between the same stations for 13 weekends in a row, and five weekends in fall 2012. But there have been No. 7 line suspensions in the area on a regular basis for well over 10 years, according to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
The continuing shutdowns are so the MTA can do track, tunnel and other maintenance in the Steinway Tunnel, which connects Queens and Manhattan.
According to the MTA, “Service changes, including the weekend suspension of service between Queens and Manhattan, are being planned as the project is scheduled to be completed in 2016.”
The shutdowns not only mean extra commute time, but also a financial hit to local businesses.
Shelia Lewandowski, executive director and founder of The Chocolate Factory Theater, spoke to The Courier earlier this year, before the 13-weekend shut down. At the time, she said she feared artists would have a difficult time getting her Long Island City theatre company and attendance would drop.
She was right.
“It was a difficult January,” said Lewandowski.
Van Bramer said the MTA hasn’t been very responsive to other requests, including offering a bus shuttle between Hunters Point and Midtown Manhattan, minimizing the number of consecutive weekend closures and not suspending service in the winter.