Photo credit, Kim M

Tonight at 10:30p.m. three G train stops will go out of service for 5 weeks–Greenpoint Ave, 21st Street and Court Square. One thing on everyone’s mind is how the hell are we going to get around in this mess? Fear not people, Greenpointers has you covered. In the event you are confused or simply forgot, revisit our detailed post which gives the transit skinny to make your commute a wee bit less painful. 

The short end of G shutdown is this: Buses will shuttle riders to alternate subway stops to make connections into the city.  Fingers crossed the ferry is up, because from where I’m standing, the two nearest stops for most Greenpointers to transfer into the city—#7’s Vernon-Jackson Ave. and Lorimer Street L train—are poised to become rings in Dante’s never-ending inferno come the height of rush hour.

Preparing for this shutdown has been like waiting for a big Band-aid to get pulled; we’re bracing for it, and we know it’s going to sting like nobody’s business.  Yet, for all the pain we are about to feel, I would like you to ponder the sting when we peel off an even bigger bandage—say the one when our infrastructure finally breaks under the heels of thousands new feet.

“We’re going to have to get creative,” is what Councilman, Steve Levin, said in response to the impending G shut down and a rapid rise in Greenpoint residents, in Thursday’s New York Times article. “The transportation infrastructure that exists today, I believe, just can’t handle that type of population increase. It’s going to be a challenge for Greenpoint for a really long time.”

Silly me, but wasn’t the issue of an overburdened subway line one of the chief concerns Greenpointer’s made against inviting 15,000 new residents to our hood? And if our infrastructure is to be a challenged for a really loooong time, then why were massive real estate plans approved before Greenpoint had a transportation study done, which was promised in 2010? Let’s face it, right now the G train is at full capacity and the towers aren’t even built yet. Perhaps if the city spent less time with reckless rezonings and focused on foresight rather than hindsight, their 20/20 vision would see our narrow tree-lined streets and single subway line could never cope with the new loads.


Developers have long subscribed to the biblical notion: Build it and they will come.  Both Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street believe the transportation solution to the uptick in residents will require a reliance on water taxis (water taxis,really?!) and free shuttle buses to the nearby subway stations.

David Bistricer, owner of 77 Commercial Street, when speaking with the Times had this to say to on the matter, “We’re private developers; we’re not capable of putting in a subway, so the next best thing is to obviously take the shuttle service…There’s more to life than being two feet away from the subway.”

Speak for yourself, Mr. Bistricer. A man who made his money buying prime real estate around transit hubs and making former Public Advocate, Bill De Blasio’s Worst Slumlord List should know better than to cast a stone from a glass tower.

Greenpoint might be a remote enclave, but as far as I know, we still pay city taxes and this should entitle us to a thing or two. High on my list of  Big Apple perks would be a hassle-free commute and pizza delivery past 9:30 p.m. 

So however you plan on getting around—now, next Monday, or ten years into the future—I bid you good luck my fellow Greenpointers, and may the force be with you.  Let’s talk on Monday and see how we fare. 


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  1. The Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street sites were also not included in the 2005 Greenpoint Williamsburg Waterfront Rezone Environmental Review FEIS transportation study chapter. They were mysteriously blank spaces on the map and yet the approval went forward. Maybe because George Klein of Greenpoint Landing sits on the UNDC with City Planning commissioner at the Time Amanda Burden (and the dude from HPD) .

  2. “Let’s face it, right now the G train is at full capacity and the towers aren’t even built yet.”

    Kim, may I suggest you read Second Avenue Sagas? It’s an excellent blog on the MTA from the straphanger’s point of view. While Ben Kabak doesn’t focus too much on the G train, he did spend some time on the Crosstown Local’s deep-dive report: “Notably, the agency continues to maintain that, despite significant growth in ridership over the past decade, overall ridership lags behind the rest of the system. This is my aforementioned chicken-and-egg problem. Ridership has grown despite infrequent service in relatively poorly maintained stations, and ridership hasn’t grown more because of the lack of connections to other lines and the long headways.”

    In other words the MTA will not add more service to the G train until it’s as packed as the 4 going to a Yankees game during rush hour. Then, the agency reasons, it’ll allocate more trains. And afternoon and evening service did increase in June. You want the trains to run at full capacity — or else the MTA is wasting its money — but you also want the MTA to be flexible as ridership increases. Hope this makes sense.

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