Tag Archives: Queensboro Plaza

7 train weekend service suspensions continue through the fall


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

No. 7 train riders will not get any relief as service disruptions continue starting this weekend.

The first of five planned service suspensions for the line this fall between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square will start on Saturday, Oct. 18, according to the MTA.

This weekend, October 18-20 and the weekend of October 25-27, 7 trains will be suspended between Times Square-42 St and Queensboro Plaza in both directions from 2:00 a.m. Saturday, through 5 a.m. Monday.

During the weekends of November 8-10, November 15-17, and November 22-24, service will be suspended between Times Square-42 St and Queensboro Plaza in both directions from 11:30 p.m. Friday through 5:00 a.m. Monday.

The E, F, N, Q and S lines, and free shuttle buses will provide alternate service.

During the service suspensions, the MTA is advising customers to use the E, F, N or Q trains to travel between Manhattan and Queens. They can transfer between the 7 and E, F and R trains at 74 St-Roosevelt Av. Q service will be extended to and from Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Free shuttle buses will operate between Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue and Queensboro Plaza, making stops at Hunters Point Av, Court Sq and Queens Plaza.
In Manhattan, the 42 St S shuttle will also operate throughout the weekend from 12:01 a.m. Saturday night, to 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.

As another alternate, the Long Island Rail Road will cross honor and will accept displayed MetroCards from customers traveling in both directions between Penn Station and Woodside.

The suspensions are just the latest in a number of service disruptions along the same portion of the line that have taken place during the weekend this year and during many in past years, upsetting residents and business owners in the Long Island City area.

“The ongoing work on the 7 remains absolutely critical to the line’s reliability, safety and longevity. We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to the customers who depend on the 7 train and we appreciate their patience,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco in a statement. “When completed, this work will result in a more reliable subway line with the ability to run more trains and improve performance for growing neighborhoods in Queens.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

7 train suspension lifted for LIC weekend of events


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

There is a little light at the end of the tunnel for No. 7 train users.

Three weeks after coming face to face with the Long Island City community and listening to their concerns about the No. 7 train weekend suspensions, the MTA will keep the line running on May 17 and 18.

During the March 27 town hall meeting, community members and business owners asked the transit agency to alter its initial plan because of events such as the LIC Arts Open, LIC Flea & Food and LIC Springs!, a block party along Vernon Boulevard.

“Finally the MTA has not only listened to our community on this issue, but taken action,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “LIC Springs! and other events like the LIC Flea and the LIC Arts Open are wonderful displays of how much our neighborhood has to offer, so I appreciate the MTA making it easier to get people here for this one weekend.”

The MTA said that the work previously scheduled for the weekend of May 17 and 18 will have to be rescheduled, however won’t increase the number of closures for 2014. Some of the closures will be rescheduled for 2015.

“The community spoke and the [MTA New York City Transit] listened. The No. 7 Line shutdown for needed repairs has caused ongoing hardship for the businesses, residents, cultural organizations and institutions in Long Island City,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “That weekend is expected to draw significant numbers of visitors from across Queens – and New York City – to our neighborhood for arts, culture, food and fun.”

Although the MTA has agreed to keep the No. 7 line working for the one May weekend, Gianaris wants to continue working with the agency to put an end to all weekend disruptions.

“Of course, when everyone wants to come back and enjoy the weekend in Long Island City for the rest of the summer, we’ll run into the same old problem, so I will keep fighting until the 7 train actually running on weekends is no longer news,” Gianaris said.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

The MTA has also released the following additional changes for the No. 7 train suspensions:

  • May 3-4 will now be a shutdown between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street.
  • May 31-June 1 will now be shut down between 74 Street-Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Sept. 20-21 will now be shut down between 74 Street -Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Nov 15-16 will now be a limited service to Queensboro Plaza with no service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street weekend.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

MTA to continue 7 train suspensions despite LIC’s pleas


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

After listening to numerous complaints recent No. 7 train suspensions have caused, the MTA told Long Island City – we’re sorry but the work must go on.

The western Queens community came together during a town hall meeting with MTA officials on Thursday to discuss the line’s suspensions, which are expected to continue for 13 more weekends throughout the year.

Officials from the agency explained the purpose behind the suspensions and listened to feedback from residents, elected officials and business owners.

MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco expressed his apologies for the inconveniences but told those present that the disruptions will continue as planned.

“This is not something that is unique to just our 7 line riders, because of the nature of our system we have to do this all over the city,” Bianco said. “Let me apologize to you with the inconvenience we’re causing because I know it’s there and I do apologize. We’ve looked hard for alternate ways to do this and I think we found the best solution.”

One of the ongoing projects that are causing the No. 7 line to shut down on weekends is the implementation of a Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), which by 2017 is expected to provide real-time arrival information at stations and “improve system safety, reliability, capacity and flexibility,” according to the agency’s presentation.

The other two projects include Steinway Tube reconstruction and rehabilitation, and track panel replacement.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

One of the biggest topics brought up by residents and business owners during the night was the installment of a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city.

Even though the entire room agreed it would be the best alternative during the suspensions, Bianco said that according to data from the MTA, a shuttle bus would only benefit a limited amount of people and would not save much travel time.

However, elected officials said they have yet to see any data regarding the shuttle service.

“We asked for it a while ago and I haven’t seen it,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “We’re still waiting for it. We keep hearing about it.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer agreed on the need to see the data as he asked the audience whether they believed the shuttle would work best for them.

“If the New York City transit believes that that plan is a bad plan for all of you, despite the fact that all of you think it’s a very good plan, then we need to see why this is being done the way it is being done,” Van Bramer said.

Although the work is expected to continue until 2017, this year is expected to be the worst and after mid-2015 the majority of the work disruptions will shift east from Long Island City, MTA officials said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

MTA town hall to address 7 train shutdowns


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Long Island City community plans to express its rage at the MTA for the lack of local subway service.

A town hall meeting for locals to decry the last three weekends of No. 7 train suspensions is scheduled for Thursday to go over the details of the service disruption, expected to last for 19 more weekends.

Local elected officials, who asked the MTA to set the meeting up, and MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco are expected to hear feedback from community members.

“I really thought the community should have the same access and same right to get the briefing and be able to ask their own questions,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “I want the folks to be able to share with the MTA how they feel about this and why it is so harmful to their business and everyday lives.”

Senator Michael Gianaris said the MTA does not realize Long Island City has become a destination. The community has attempted to be more reasonable with the agency, but without success.

“It’s nice to have a dialogue, but a dialogue without action is not that helpful,” Gianaris said. “I hope this time is different. We’re going to keep their feet to the fire.”

Through July 21, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the MTA said, but there are also nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

Ideas for transportation alternatives during the weekend disruptions, such as the shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city, will also be brought up.

Sheila Lewandowski, Long Island City resident and owner of The Chocolate Factory Theater, believes such a meeting should be done before the disruptions began. However, she hopes the MTA will take what is said at the meeting and put it to good use.

“I think it’s important that the MTA remembers that it’s a public service and that they need to hear from their customers. I don’t feel like we get much opportunities for that to happen,” Lewandowski said. “What I want is for them to be more accessible to the very people that use the system because I feel like that’s what’s going to drive better service and change.”

The town hall meeting is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 78 at 46-08 Fifth St.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC community struggles with first weekend of No. 7 train suspensions


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, March 12 10:38 a.m.

Warren Linnane, a Long Island City resident, had no idea the No. 7 line would not be working when he went out Saturday night. A subway ride that normally takes 10 to 15 minutes took him and his friend close to three hours.

“We were in the city and couldn’t get home,” he said. “It took us three trains and one cab, that’s more money and more time. It was terrible, I can’t go anywhere. We live here and we can’t get home.”

Linnane — and all of LIC — felt the pinch this past weekend as the community endured the first of more than a dozen weekends of No. 7 train suspensions.

The suspensions were expected to begin February 28, but were cancelled due to expected inclement weather.
Through July 21, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the MTA said, but there are also nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

Business owners, like Jeff Blath of Alobar, noticed a difference on Saturday, March 8, when there were fewer customers than usual and some of his employees struggled to get to work and back home.

“It hurts us, there’s no doubt about it,” Blath said. “They [the MTA] did not come to us and say ‘what works the best for your guys?’ It’s just a multitude of problems and no communication.”

Blath said that some of his employees took hours to get home after work. For the upcoming weekend, he hopes to create some sort of specials at Alobar to bring customers to the neighborhood.

“LIC is always talked about because of how easy it is to get to the city, and what happened? They took it away,” he said. “I’m trying my best to stay positive.”

Rebecca Trent, owner of The Creek and The Cave, also shared the same struggle when she tweeted “The No. 7 Train was down today. Quietest Saturday in ages” after only 10 people showed up for one of the shows that day.

“We put everything we have into our jobs,” Trent said. “If the neighborhood doesn’t have consistent No. 7 train service then the neighborhood is not relevant. The selling point of Long Island City is that we’re one stop from Manhattan.”

Trent said that together with other business owners she will work to raise awareness in the neighborhood and also make sure the issue “stays on the radar” of the local politicians. She will also dedicate street team efforts to inform people taking the other subway lines to come visit LIC.

“LIC is very special, there is no other place like it in New York City and I want to see it thrive very badly and it really seems like the MTA is always getting in the way,” she said.

The latest round of work is expected to modernize and improve 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.

The MTA said it is waiting on and working with the Long Island City community to set up a marketing campaign for the neighborhood.

However, business owners say the MTA has told them that they are not being given advertising space, but instead can add images and words to the disclosure notices located on subway cars.

“We’re not quite sure what they are giving us right now,” said Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder and executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater. “We want to do it, we want to make it happen but all sides need to come to the table and work together. Give us the information we need.”

Lewandowski also said the agency is not clear on what they need from them to create the notices and the businesses owners have no idea on how long the notices would stay up.

“The Long Island City community is hurting as a result of the 22 weekends of closures on the No. 7 line. The least that the MTA could do is work actively with the community on the promises that they have made,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Instead, we have seen the MTA add insult to injury by suggesting that the slowness of implementation of a campaign is on someone other than themselves. This simple suggestion is shameful and arrogant.”

Senator Michael Gianaris, who has previously suggested the MTA offer a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city, plans on immediately communicating the community’s needs to the MTA.

“The MTA must stop treating our communities as if they don’t matter,” Gianaris said. “This unresponsive bureaucracy will keep hearing from me until they get it, which they clearly do not at this time.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Community pushes for pedestrian safety in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Update Tuesday, October 1, 6:00 p.m. 

After three pedestrians were struck in the last three months — two fatally and one left in critical condition — the western Queens community is asking for safer traffic measures. 

According to police, on Friday, September 13 a woman was struck and killed as she was crossing Queens Plaza North and 27th Street. Just two month before, on July 2, another woman was struck and critically injured on 29th Street, just two blocks down. 

“We have a growing epidemic where pedestrians are not safe on the sidewalks and the streets of Queensboro Plaza,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who recently helped bring improvements to an intersection in front of LaGuardia Community College where a 16-year-old high school student was struck and killed in March. “Dutch Kills and Long Island City are home to thousands of new residents as well as hundreds of growing businesses. More and more people are crossing through Queensboro Plaza every single day.”

Van Bramer gathered along with other elected officials and residents on Friday, September 27 at the intersection of Queens Plaza North and 27th Street to ask the Department of Transportation (DOT) for street safety enhancements to the busy plaza near the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. 

The changes to increase pedestrian safety at Queensboro Plaza include extending the current 20 second countdown clocks at the crosswalks to give pedestrians more time to cross the congested streets and installing more street signage allowing pedestrians to be more alert of bicycle lanes.

“Crossing Queens Plaza should not be like playing Frogger,” said Noah Budnick, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives. “We’re sending the message that traffic crashes are preventable.”

According to the DOT, between 2007 to 2011, there has been one reported pedestrian injury at the intersection of Queens Plaza North and 27th Street and from 2007 to present, there has been one fatality.

“Safety is DOT’s top priority and the agency is currently reviewing the location to see if there are ways to further enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area for all street users, including possible upgrades to signage,” said Nicholas Mosquera, DOT spokesperson.

A day after the call for safety measures in Queens Plaza, 19 year old Luis Bravo lost his life in a hit-and-run along Broadway in Woodside.

“Yet another person has been killed here in western Queens as a result of a vehicular collision,” said Van Bramer. “For over a year now the Department of Transportation has not done anything about motorists speeding along Broadway here in Woodside. Every time a pedestrian is struck and dies as a result of a vehicular collision we will speak out against it.”

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The councilmember gathered with local officials and residents on October 1 at the corner of 58th Street and Broadway where Bravo was struck and the vehicle fled the scene, to ask the DOT to bring safety measures to that area as well.

“It is heartbreaking anytime a young person’s life is lost, but this instance hurts because it was so sudden and the driver who killed Luis and sped off is still at large,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I urge everyone in our community to join together to bring this hit-and-run driver to justice, and I urge the DOT to do everything it can to make our streets safer.”

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run is encouraged to contact NYPD’s Crime Stoppers by calling 800-577-TIPS.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man fatally jumps in front of N train in Astoria


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dave Conlogue

Severed limbs flew onto an Astoria street Tuesday evening after a man threw himself in front of a Queens-bound N train, witnesses and a police source said.

The incident at 31st Street and Broadway shut down power and train service in both directions between Queensboro Plaza and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard for nearly four hours, according to police and city alerts.

A resident named Sean, who did not want to give his last name, said “everything was chaotic.”

Witnesses said they saw a heavy set severed leg on the street and body parts strewn on the tracks at around 4:13 p.m. One resident described what appeared to be “grinded up meat.”

“I asked the driver when he came down and he told me a man jumped,” said passerby John Sadiq. “He came rolling and crushing.”

The investigation is ongoing, a law enforcement source said.

With additional reporting by Rosa Kim

 

Photo by Suzan Pierce

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Queens businesses fear 7 subway suspension may hurt profits


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

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.

 

 

Weeknight subway closures expand to Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Flickr/MTA

Starting next month, some late night subway riders will need to find alternate forms of transportation, the MTA announced Monday.

The MTA’s Fastrack program, which temporality suspends parts of the subway from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights for track, tunnel and station maintenance, will affect several lines in Queens and other parts of the city.

Each of the following corridors will shut down for four consecutive weeknights:

  • “N,” “Q” and “R” lines south of Queensboro Plaza to Court Street in Brooklyn
  • “E,” “F,” “M” and “R” lines between 5th Avenue/53rd Street in Manhattan and Roosevelt Avenue
  •  “A” line between 168th Street and 207th Street in Upper Manhattan
  •  “D” line between 161st Street and 205th Street in the Bronx
  •  “6” line between 45th Street and 100th Street in Manhttan
  •  “4” and “5″ lines between 45th Street and 100th Street in Manhattan

The first corridor slated for maintenance is the “D” line in the Bronx on January 14, followed by the N,” “Q” and “R” trains south of Queensboro Plaza to Court Street on January 28.

The MTA decided to continue with the Fastrack program, which began last January, because of its increase in productivity, and reduction in track fires, delays and incidents.

“Over the past year we have found this to be an extremely effective way to maintain a subway system that operates around the clock, seven days a week,” said New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast. “We have seen concrete benefits in the way the system is being maintained through Fastrack and we are now ready to roll it out to other line segments.”

 

No. 7 subway service disrupted for five weekends this fall, beginning tonight


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Starting October 5, No. 7 line service between Manhattan and Queens will be suspended for five weekends 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 the weekends of October 5-8, October 19-22, October 26-29, November 9-12 and November 16-19.

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

The “Q” will be extended to and from Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. during daytime hours and the Manhattan “S” shuttle will run overnight during those weekends. Free shuttle buses will also operate between Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Avenue and Queensboro Plaza.