Tag Archives: No. 7 train

No. 7 train service suspensions scheduled for 22 weekends in 2014


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated 5:15 p.m.

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Another year, another round of No. 7 train suspensions.

The subway line will not run in parts of western Queens and Manhattan for over a dozen weekends this year, starting in the end of February, according to a notice from the MTA, again upsetting residents, business owners and local politicians who are fed up with the constant disruptions.

From February through July, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the transit agency said. There are nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

The latest round of work, including continued installation of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), replacement of critical track panels and reconstruction inside the Steinway Tube under the East River, is expected to modernize, improve a fortify the Flushing No. 7 line, according to the MTA. The work will also include tunnel duct reconstruction and replacement and improvements on components damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

“We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to the customers who depend on the No. 7 train and we appreciate their patience,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We have made every effort to schedule these project simultaneously to get as much work done as we can during these periods.”

All the service suspensions will be in effect from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, unless otherwise indicated.

There will be no service between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza on the following weekends: February 28 -March 3; March 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31; April 11-14; and May 2-5, 16-19.

On the following dates, in addition to no service between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza there will be reduced service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza: May 30-June 2; June 6-8, with service resuming Sunday, June 8 morning for the Puerto Rican Day Parade; June 20-23, 27-30; and July 18-21.

The MTA has also released a tentative service disruption schedule, which is expected to be confirmed with a future update later this year.

The No. 7 Flushing-bound service will run express from Queensboro Plaza to 74th Street-Broadway, with a stop at 61st Street- Woodside on the following weekends: August 22-25; September 19-22; October 3-6, 10-13; and October 17-20, 24-27.

From November 7- 10 there will be no service between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza, reduced service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza, and the Flushing-bound service will run express from Queensboro Plaza to 74th Street-Broadway, with a stop at 61st Street- Woodside.

From November 14-17, 21-24 there will be no service between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza, and the Flushing-bound service will run express from Queensboro Plaza to 74th Street-Broadway, with a stop at 61st Street-Woodside.

In addition to these changes, No. 7 train service will be suspended between Mets-Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street between 11:45 p.m. Friday, February 15 and 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 18, and between 11:45 p.m. Friday, February 22 and 5 a.m. Monday, February 24.

“We have times this vital work to minimize impacts to customers, pedestrians and vehicular traffic, and to avoid dates with high projected ridership,” said Bianco. “This is far more work than can be completed during our overnight FASTRACK program, which was designed to accommodate typical subway maintenance. Work of this scope on the No. 7 line cannot be done overnight and requires more than 48 hours of continuous access to the tube and tracks.”

During the service suspensions, riders will be kept informed through notice and printed brochures, explaining the work and service changes, posted in the subway system, according to the MTA. NYC Transit will also offer a free shuttle bus along all close No. 7 stations.

Service on the N and Q train will be increased and riders could use either train at Queensboro Plaza or the E train at Court Square, according to the MTA. Riders can also transfer to the E, F or R for service to Manhattan at the 74 Street-Broadway station.

The suspensions are nothing new for those who have suffered through them for years.

But the familiarity doesn’t mean locals are not frustrated with the suspensions that have been taking place in the area on a regular basis for well over a decade.

Business owners are tired of potential financial losses and residents are sick of longer commutes.

Last fall, No. 7 train service did not operate between the Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza stations for five weekends.

“Unfortunately we’ve grown accustomed to the MTA screwing Long Island City,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

“Businesses are suffering,” he added. “It’s not just the people in LIC, it’s people who are more and more coming to Long Island City.”

Gianaris said his office has suggested numerous “reasonable” alternatives to deal with the problem, for example a shuttle bus through the Queens Midtown Tunnel, but the MTA has refused to consider them and won’t give any answers as to why it won’t.

He will be rallying Friday with local elected officials, business owners and residents to call for a change.

“We’re going to continue to try to make the point to the MTA and the new administration, and hope that the new administration would do something about [the shutdowns],” said Gianaris.

“The multi-year, $550 million capital improvement project to replace the antiquated 50- to 90-year-old signaling system on the No. 7 line with state-of-the-art CBTC technology will continue into 2017,” the MTA said in a press release.

 

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Cops: Suspect recorded video under teen’s skirt at Corona subway station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man allegedly caught videotaping under a teen’s skirt at a Corona subway station.

The suspect was observed recording the video at the Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue subway stop around 8:15 a.m. on October 2, said cops.

He continued to record under the 18-year-old girl’s skirt as she walked up the staircase leading to the southbound No. 7 train platform. The suspect was then confronted and fled on foot.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic and in his early to mid-thirties. He was last seen wearing a black tank top, blue jeans and black sneakers.

 

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No. 7 train service to be suspended in LIC for five weekends this fall


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

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.

 

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Pols call for safety measures after second subway shove death


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hokachung

After a second New Yorker was pushed to his death in a subway station last month, a pair of local pols are calling for the MTA to take measures to ensure the safety of city straphangers.

Sunando Sen, 46, was killed Thursday, December 27 when he was shoved in front of an oncoming No. 7 train at the 40th Street/Lowery Street station in Sunnyside.

Police arrested and charged Erika Menendez, 31, of Rego Park, with murder as a hate crime after the suspect allegedly told investigators she pushed Sen because of her scorn for Muslims and Hindus.

“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims. Ever since 2001 when they put down the Twin Towers I’ve been beating them up,” she allegedly told detectives.

Menendez, who was seen at the station muttering to herself before shoving Sen, is reportedly undergoing psychiatric evaluation to determine if she is mentally stable.

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare — being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” said District Attorney Richard Brown. “Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions can never be tolerated by a civilized society.”

This marked the second incident in December that someone was pushed to their death in a subway station. Ki-Suk Han, 58, of Elmhurst, was killed on December 3 when he was pushed in front of a Q train at the 49th Street-Seventh Avenue station. Suspect Naeem Davis was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Aside from the two push deaths, 52 other straphangers were killed on subway tracks this year, whether by accident or suicide.

Among the safety steps State Senator Jose Peralta and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proposed to prevent further fatalities were installing sliding doors, an intercom system that could connect riders with the Rail Control Center and more security cameras.

“It does strike me that in a post-9/11 world that there are no cameras at any stop,” Van Bramer said at a recent press conference.

The station where Sen was killed did not have any working cameras; Menendez was captured fleeing by nearby surveillance cameras.

“In less than a month, two of my constituents have been pushed onto subway tracks and killed,” Peralta said. “I urge the MTA to immediately act on common-sense measures to improve rider safety and security.”

Installing barriers between passengers and the train would “be both expensive and extremely challenging,” the MTA said in a statement. The agency did say though that they are considering testing such equipment “on a limited basis.”

— Additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

Queens businesses fear 7 subway suspension may hurt profits


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

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Once more, western Queens business owners could potentially say goodbye to a profitable winter.

The No. 7 line weekend service between Queens and Manhattan is being suspended until the end of March, and many area business owners fear that this will affect the influx of customers they usually get.

The award-winning Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City is just one of the many organizations expecting a severe blow to their business this season.

“We [will be] unable to commission work, to present work,” said Sheila Lewandowski of the theater company. “If our audience can’t get here, what are we saying to our artists?”

The Chocolate Factory planned four shows for the coming winter months, and is expecting around 5,000 people to attend. They have artists coming in from all over the world, and, according to Lewandowski, artists who have been preparing for these shows for years.

“The No. 7 train is part of the ticket,” said Lewandowski, who fears that without the subway line, artists will have a difficult time getting to the theater, or that the number of attendees will significantly decrease.

Lewandowski also said that, had they been informed of the closures a month or two ago, shows could have been rescheduled. But, with the two weeks’ notice that the MTA gave, nothing can be done.

“Millions of people are disadvantaged and inconvenienced,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “The people of Queens are being disrespected.”

Until March 25, the MTA will be working on tunnel, signal and track maintenance in the Steinway Tunnel, which connects Queens to Manhattan, and will replace tracks between the Court Square and Queensboro Plaza stations.

Van Bramer held a press conference on Friday, December 28, the day that marked the beginning of the closures, in front of the bustling Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue train stop. He was joined by fellow Councilmember Peter Koo and area business owners, all protesting the MTA changes.

“If I seem a little angry, I am,” said Van Bramer. “Year after year this is too much to bear.”

In 2010, the No. 7 line was suspended for 12 weekends, and again for five weekends this past fall.

On December 8, Community Board 2 received a letter from the MTA, detailing the weekend closures. According to Van Bramer, there was no discussion or opportunity for input, simply a: “this is how it is, so deal with it.”

Going forward, the councilmember intends to work with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the rest of the Council to urge the MTA to change course, and also advises that residents sign an online petition, on the City Council website, and also protest via social media.

For alternate service, straphangers can use the E, F, N and Q lines. On Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Q will be extended to Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard. Additionally, free shuttle buses will operate between the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue and Queensboro Plaza stations during those weekends.

-With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola

Police arrest Queens subway groper, still looking for “E” train flasher


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted for forcibly touching a woman while she was waiting for the subway at the Queensboro Plaza station Wednesday morning has been arrested, said police.

Around 10:40 a.m. yesterday, Andres Lara, 25, of East Elmhurst, allegedly grabbed the behind of a 27-year-old woman as she waited on the Manhattan bound No.7 train platform, then fled the station.

Lara turned himself into the 115th Precinct station this morning after seeing himself on television, reported NY1.

The groping wasn’t the only lewd subway incident that happened in Queens Wednesday morning.

Police are still looking for the man who exposed himself to a 23-year-old woman on a Queens bound “E” train near the 71st Street and Continental subway station around 10:40 a.m. yesterday.

The suspect, Dimitrius Senior, 48, is described as 5’11″ tall and 185 pounds.

 

 

Weekend 7 subway service suspended through March


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

For the second time in less than six months, straphangers in Queens and Manhattan will be without the No. 7 subway for multiple weekends in a row.

Starting December 28, No. 7 line service between the two boroughs will be suspended every weekend until March 25 due to planned subway work.

Trains won’t run between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza, from 11:45 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday during those 13 consecutive weekends.

During President’s Day weekend the suspension will remain in effect until Tuesday, February 19 at 5 a.m.

For alternate service between the two boroughs, straphangers can use the “E”,” F”, “N” and  “Q” lines.

The “Q” will also be extended to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to  7 p.m., and free shuttle buses will operate between the Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Avenue and Queensboro Plaza stations during those weekends.

Along with the weekend suspensions, the No. 7 train will not run from 11:45 p.m. on Monday, January 14 until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15.

According to the MTA, these service changes are so it can perform tunnel, signal and track maintenance in the Steinway Tunnel, which connects Queens to Manhattan, as well as replace tracks between the between the Court Sq. and Queensboro Plaza stations.

In the fall, the MTA also suspended No. 7 subway service for five weekends for maintenance reasons.

 

 

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Man dies after jumping in front of subway train in Queens

A man died Friday after jumping in front of a Queens subway train, sources said. The victim, who was not immediately identified, leaped onto the tracks as an eastbound No. 7 train barreled into the 52nd St. station at Roosevelt Ave. in Woodside about 1:30 p.m., the sources said. Read more: Daily News

Feds interview Calif. filmmaker linked to anti-Islamic movie

A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff’s station but was not arrested or detained, authorities said early Saturday. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was interviewed at the station in his hometown of Cerritos, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Walker said. Read more: NY Post

Two U.S. Marines killed at Afghanistan base where Prince Harry is stationed

Heavily-armed insurgents attacked a British air base in southern Afghanistan Friday, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding several other troops, U.S. officials said. Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is stationed at the base on a four-month combat tour in Afghanistan. Read more: Daily News

Accused serial arsonist under arrest

A man accused of setting off 13 separate fires in Queens is now under arrest. Thien Dinh, 43, is charged with arson, reckless endangerment and burglary. Fire marshals say he has 45 prior arrests for burglary and property damage. Read more: NY1

Queens 18-year-old files $10 million lawsuit against city, alleging cops botched her restraining order

A Queens woman who was stabbed by her ex-lover is suing the city over claims cops failed to enforce a restraining order. Last June, Daniel Paguay, 21, attacked the 18-year-old in her Corona home, dragging her out of bed to a nearby grocery store, where he used her as a human shield before plunging a 10-inch knife into her back three times, police said. Read more: Daily News

Rescue crews conduct search off Queens for diver

Rescue crews took to the waters off Breezy Point, Queens on Friday night after a diver was reported missing that morning. New York City Police Department boats and personnel from the Fire Department and the Coast Guard scoured the area Friday morning. Read more: NY1 

Subway Series kicks off at Yankee Stadium tonight


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Mets fans will be eschewing the No. 7 train for the No. 4 and the D to the Bronx this weekend.

The Mets face off with their cross-town rivals the New York Yankees in the annual Subway Series.

Johan Santana returns to the mound for the first time tonight since tossing the franchise’s first no-hitter on June 1. He will face off against Hiroki Kuroda.

Saturday’s match up pits Dillon Gee against Phil Hughes and Sunday Jon Niese takes on Andy Pettitte.

The Yankees took four out of six games against the Mets last year.

The Subway Series returns to Citi Field on June 22 for another three-game set.

 

Famous in Kathmandu, anonymous in New York


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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By Louie Lazar

On the narrow streets of Kathmandu, the name “Phiroj Shyangden” is more recognizable than that of Bob Seger or Cat Stevens, legendary rockers who have both written songs about this exotic city, located less than 100 miles from Mount Everest.

As lead guitarist and vocalist of 1974 A.D., the popular band whose concerts have packed stadiums and caused traffic nightmares throughout Nepal since the mid 1990s, Shyangden – with his pierced eyebrow and patented dark sunglasses obscured by wavy black bangs – could rarely surface in public without being hounded for autographs or irritated by gossip-like whispers.

But such hassles no longer plague Shyangden, who continues to sing his hits, albeit from a less glamorous platform: The Himalayan Yak, a restaurant in Jackson Heights thats web site proudly declares, “Good news for all yak meat lovers: We now have yak meat on our menu.”

Three years ago, Shyangden sang and played guitar to the roars of thousands. These days, the closest thing to a roar during his performances is when the No. 7 train thunders across the elevated tracks above Roosevelt Avenue.

“To be honest, sometimes I feel very embarrassed playing here,” admitted Shyangden. “Sometimes I have to play in front of two tables, in front of three people, instead of playing in front of 50,000 people. But I have to do it. This is for my bread and butter.”

Shyangden, 45, is one of several household names in Nepal who have traded the limelight for better financial opportunities in America.

It’s an immigrant narrative with a peculiar twist: celebrity musicians and actors from a faraway land abandoning their fame and ending up among their fans and fellow countrymen in a neighborhood in Queens. The dynamic, however, often leaves “regular” Nepalese-New Yorkers surprised to find such well-known artists living, working, and in many cases struggling, right alongside of them.

In Nepal, an underdeveloped, landlocked country scrunched between China and India, Shyangden said he would typically earn just 20,000 rupees (approximately $244) for large concerts and as little as 2,000 rupees, or $24, for small shows. He also worked as a grammar school music teacher, although that job similarly paid “very little.”

“It was very hard to support my family in Nepal,” said Shyangden, who departed for New York in 2009 while his wife and teenage daughter remained in Kathmandu.

Once in New York, he met two Nepalese immigrants who had been playing a regular gig at The Himalayan Yak – Rajesh Khadgi, 38, an eccentric, eternally-headbanging former drummer of “Robin and the New Revolution,” one of Nepal’s best-known bands, and Prazwal Bajracharya, a pony-tailed, soft-spoken 30-year-old computer networker who had belonged to an underground Kathmandu band called “Lithium.”

Blending traditional Nepali Folk music with modern genres of Rock and Roll, Blues and Jazz, the trio performs several nights a week at the restaurant, which draws a predominantly Nepalese crowd.

Each morning, Shyangden awakes at 8 a.m. and calls his wife and 14-year-old daughter in Kathmandu. He spends his days practicing guitar, composing songs and discussing music and life with his band-mates over tea at a Bangladeshi café. To supplement his income from The Himalayan Yak, Shyangden also gives private guitar lessons to Nepalese children.

Shyangden hopes for his family to join him “in the near future,” but “it is a very long process,” he laments, one that “requires a lot of money.” Still, his combined wages from singing and teaching are far greater than what he earned in Nepal, which helps his family.

The Himalayan Yak is at the heart of Queens’ South Asian cultural hub, with the colorful commercial strip of “Little India” just around the corner.

Against this backdrop on a recent Thursday night, Shyangden and his band played an acoustic show in front of a crowd of about 15 people. Shyangden said he “loves playing” at the restaurant, even if, at times, the miniscule crowds challenge his ego.

“Every time I hear him play, my energy, my vibe, gets better,” beamed one of the few spectators, Xlabia Khadka from Kathmandu, who now lives in Jackson Heights. “Whenever I come here, half of my stress just goes away.”

“When I first came to New York, I said, ‘What the hell is Phiroj Shyangden doing here, playing in this restaurant?,’” said Khadka’s friend, Mohan Poudel, 23. “I knew him as a star. But that’s the New York life. He’s trying to survive, just like us.”

No. 7 train shuttle idea shot down by MTA


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File Photo

An elected official’s plan for shuttle bus service during the No. 7 train shutdown was shot down before it left the station.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proposed to the MTA a shuttle bus that would transport stranded straphangers directly from Vernon Boulevard into 42nd Street in Manhattan.

The MTA rejected the plan, saying, “While we appreciate the councilmember’s wishes to provide direct bus service into Manhattan, it would not save customers time and could actually make their commute longer depending on traffic conditions.”

The agency said the “E,” “N,” “Q”  and “R” train service all connect Long Island City with Midtown Manhattan and these subway trips are faster than a bus ride, which would be subject to traffic congestion.

“I disagree with that.  I think for anyone who knows the area, knows New York City, that just doesn’t seem right,” said Van Bramer, who added he was disappointed by the rejection.  “To me, it’s just a lack of imagination and a failure to think outside the box.”

Van Bramer said he hoped his offer would open up a dialogue with the agency to help mitigate some of the disruption for residents, who he said have been calling his office and asking for the shuttle bus.

Weekend work began on the line on Friday, January 20 and will continue each weekend until April 2 from 11:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday morning.

The MTA is providing shuttle service during the weekend work which brings riders from the Vernon Boulevard station to Queensboro Plaza, where they can transfer to the “N” or “Q” to Times Square.  Riders that want to reach Grand Central must make one more transfer to the 4, 5 or 6 at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The shuttle service adds only 15 minutes to a customer’s commute, according to the MTA.

A constituent called Van Bramer’s office and suggested a shuttle service to 34th Street instead of Grand Central, which the councilmember called “a great idea.”

“I’m going to keep the dialogue open with them and continue to try to work with them to see if there is a way to do this,” Van Bramer said.

Weekend No.7 Train shutdown begins


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Queens residents that want to travel into Manhattan this weekend — or any of the next 11 weekends — will not have the No. 7 train as an option beginning at 11:30 p.m. tonight.

Tonight marks the beginning of the weekend No.7 train shutdown leaving many residents without an easy option to get into Manhattan.

The train will be on hiatus every weekend until April 2, shutting down at 11:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday morning.

In lieu of the No. 7 train, commuters will have to utilize the “E”, “F”, “R”, “Q” and “N” trains with increased service to get around, or the above ground option of shuttle service which will run frequently with buses every five minutes throughout the day.

MTA officials said the shutdown is necessary to remove silt and muck build up, repair water leaks, rails, concrete depletion and lack of workable space, among other problems plaguing the line.

Jackson Heights pigeon poop a persistent problem


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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A Jackson Heights politician is fed-up with the foul fowl feces that shroud the face of the neighborhood’s premier subway station.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm says he is perturbed by the pigeon poop problem casting a shadow over the 74th Street station on Roosevelt Avenue, which hosts the No. 7, “E,” “F,” “R” and “M” trains.

“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has neglected its legal responsibility to clean the pigeon poop,” said the councilmember, who called the MTA’s behavior a disgrace. “We have complained about it and they still haven’t come out to clean it. They promised they would [on] Monday, November 28, but they didn’t. This is a serious case of neglect and abuse of the Jackson Heights community. They have been a bad neighbor. One has to wonder why they continue to ignore Jackson Heights when it is one of the busiest stations in the whole transit system.”

According to an MTA spokesperson, the authority is aware of the problem and examining a variety of different solutions, including placing jagged spikes on the structure, making it less conducive for squatting.

“There is no way for us to place nets above the area, and we are limited in what we can do to solve the pigeon problem, but we do try and clean the area regularly,” said the spokesperson. “We do clean it, but the pigeons come right back. This is one of the difficult situations that we don’t have a solution to. From what I’ve heard it is pretty awful. It is disgusting, but we do have a pigeon problem throughout the city and we try different things in different place. We will just have to keep trying until we find a solution.”

The station receives regular cleaning every other week, including on the night of the December 6, according to the spokesperson.

Dromm claims his constituents have “continuously complained about the lack of maintenance to the 74th Street station,” including the pigeon excrements covering it, garbage left on the sidewalks in front of it and vacant stores surrounding it. The councilmember also plans to test the paint chipping away from the subway tracks above Roosevelt Avenue for dangerous chemicals.

Dromm, who says he has attempted to attain a regular maintenance schedule for years, to no avail, believes the MTA’s negligence has also hurt the community financially.

“The MTA is the biggest impediment to economic development in Jackson Heights, because that station is the entrance to the neighborhood,” he said. “You have vacant stores around a pigeon poop covered, paint peeling and garbage strewn subway station. People come out from the subway, and the first thing they want to do is turn around and go home. [The pigeon poop] makes the entrance to Jackson Heights undesirable.”

During the daily bustle of rush hour, some Jackson Heights residents admit they don’t bother to look up and perceive the problem.
“I’ve never even noticed it before,” said one resident as he hurried to work.

Others agree with Dromm and believe the station has become a blight on the community.

“This is the MTA’s property, and they should clean it up,” said David Barrionuevo, who uses the 74th Street station daily. “It shows they don’t care. They probably took a lot of money from the city to build this, so the least they can do is upkeep. The pigeon poop gives the station a gritty look, and if you look at some of the other stations, especially some of the bigger ones, they look nicer than this. This station is relatively new also, which means the MTA hasn’t been taking care of it at all. It looks like there is years’ worth of [feces] here.”

No. 7 train expansion to New Jersey may steam ahead


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The next stop on the No. 7 train may soon be New Jersey.

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg first announced his intention to extend the Flushing line into New Jersey, the plan had gone through ups and downs, but now the idea seems to be on the express line.

The mayor has reportedly spent $250,000 on a preliminary feasibility study.

The plan would extend the No. 7 train into Secaucus at the Secaucus Junction railroad station, connecting New Jersey to Manhattan’s East Side and Queens.

“The idea of having good transportation and mass transportation is something that’s very appealing to this city,” Bloomberg said at a recent press conference.

The idea originally came after a similar plan, the ARC – Access to the Region’s Core – was shelved by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last year over worries of budget overrun. Reports have estimated the extension could be built for less than $10 million.

Christie, in an interview on WCBS 880, said he thinks the project will be able to come together, calling it a partnership between New Jersey, New York City, New York and the federal government.

The train, which now stretches between Main Street in Flushing and Times Square, is already being extended to Manhattan’s West Side with a stop being added at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, one block from the Hudson River. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.