L Train

MTA to Hold Emergency L Train Public Meeting Tuesday

The MTA is holding an emergency L train public meeting Tuesday at noon to discuss the new plans regarding the non-shutdown of the Canarsie tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The meeting will be live streamed.

Cuomo’s announcement two weeks ago rocked the Brooklyn universe and understandably upset the renters and business owners who already relocated, not to mention the community leaders who worked for three years on mitigation plans and questioned the announcements’ lack of specifics.

The L train was scheduled to see 15 – 18 months of major service disruptions beginning in April, but as the story goes, a distraught Brooklyn man pulled Cuomo’s lapel, inspiring the Governor to assemble an engineering team of experts to visit the Canarsie tunnel. Continue reading

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L-Train Apocalypse Averted, Reconstruction to Take 15 – 20 Months

Gov. ‘Amazon’ Cuomo at Thursday’s press conference in Manhattan.

Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo held a surprise press conference in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon to announce last-minute changes in the two-year-old L train shutdown plan that was scheduled to start in April 2019. The plan for a full shutdown of the L train’s Canarsie tunnel has been scrapped in lieu of a new engineering plan (PDF) to keep the tunnel in operation during reconstruction. The announcement has a profound impact on Brooklyn residents working in Manhattan and the real estate developers with local interests, who are some of Cuomo’s largest donors.

Without offering many specific details, Cuomo said that L train commuters can expect service disruptions on some nights and weekends during the coming 15-to-20-months of construction on the Canarsie tunnel.

Cuomo didn’t talk about the MTA’s former plans to create express bus lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge and across 14th Street in Manhattan. Cuomo also continued to deny his control over the MTA: “No, I am not in charge of the MTA…Yes, I did ask this group, I convened this group, I got them access, I facilitated their research, they came up with their conclusion, they presented it to the MTA, and the MTA said it’s a better way to do it.”

The flooded Canarsie tunnel in the aftermath of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy

The Canarsie tunnel was damaged way back in 2012 from the salty, corrosive floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy. The MTA announced its mitigation plan in 2016, and since then dozens of meetings in North Brooklyn have been held by local activist groups such as the L train Coalition and NYC Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso.

Cuomo’s team of Ivy League engineers drafted a new engineering design “never used in the United States” to supplement the full shutdown, Cuomo explained during Thursday’s press conference:

To make a long story short: They have proposed a new design to use in the tunnel. It is a design that has not been used in the united states before to the best of our knowledge. It has been implemented in Europe. It has never been implemented in a tunnel restoration project. They came up with that design suggestion that uses many new innovations that are new to, frankly, the rail industry in this country. But the MTA has gone through their recommendations and gone through the new design, and the MTA believes that it is feasible, it’s highly innovative but that it is feasible. Long story short, with this design, it would not be necessary to close the L train tunnel at all, which would be a phenomenal benefit to the people of New York City. There would need to be some night and weekend closures of only one tube, so service would still work because there are two tunnels, but it would be a major, major breakthrough, and that’s what we want to discuss with you today.

Watch the full press conference:

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Cuomo to Make Surprise L Train Announcement Today

Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo will take a break from striking backroom deals with monopolistic billionaires and make a surprise announcement during a press conference today at 12:45 p.m. in Manhattan regarding the L train shutdown, Gothamist reports. Just two weeks ago Cuomo submerged himself into the Canarsie Tunnel that runs between Manhattan and Brooklyn to take a hard look at the reconstruction plan with a team of experts. As of now, the plan (four years in the making) is to shut down the tunnel to train traffic for 15 months begging at the end of April 2019.

A potential switch may be a three-year shutdown with one track remaining in operation, Gothamist reports:

MTA sources told Gothamist that they have heard rumors that the governor was planning on altering the L train shutdown. “We usually have provisions that allow us to get out of contracts at any given time, but there’s been a fair amount of work done already,” one source said. “If there’s a new plan only the very upper management knows what that is.”

Another source in contact with city decision makers said the governor may switch from the 1.5 year total shutdown timeline to one that would last 3+ years by partially shutting down one track.

Update: The NY Times reports that a full Canarsie Tunnel shutdown will not happen. Specific details are still to be announced.

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The Abandoned Subway Tunnel Teasing Williamsburg

The shell of the never completed subway tunnel above the G Line ( courtesy of secondavenuesagas.com)

Imagine how much easier it would be for alternative transportation with the L train apocalypse if there was a parallel subway line from Williamsburg providing another route to Manhattan!

In 1929, such a godsend of a line was not only planned but began construction; the plans did not get very far. The city dug out a tunnel that still sits under Williamsburg at S. 4th Street. Subway historian Benjamin Kabak described the tantalizing phantom subway line in his blog Second Avenue Sagas.

Kabak revealed the existence of the huge subway shell as part of his underbelly project. He claims that the envisioned subway tunnel was intended to accommodate four subway lines, which would have made it one of the largest stations in the city. Cruelly, the partially excavated tunnel sits just above the Broadway stop on the G line. The plans were tragically visionary: According to Kabak, both the Sixth Avenue and Eighth Avenue lines would have passed through this station, bound for multiple points east, south and north.

Map of intended subway line from 1929.

In September 1929, the Board of Transportation announced a subway expansion plan called the Second System, which is documented in Joseph Raskin’s book The Routes Not Taken, a Trip Through New York City’s Unbuilt Subways. Continue reading

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Surprise! Amazon Cuomo Doesn’t Fix L Train Tunnel During Midnight Visit

Governor Cuomo Flickr

Corporate America’s valiant Governor, ‘Amazon’ Cuomo, tried his hardest last night to fix the Canarsie Tunnel during a 1.5 hour midnight visit with a team of “national and international experts,” but in the end, no miracles were made and the tunnel will close as scheduled for an estimated 15 months of repairs starting in April 2019.

Cuomo did bless us with a photo shoot providing images of the subterranean finger pointing and deep reflection we all wanted.

Amazon Cuomo held a press conference following the tunnel tour in which he revealed nothing new while name-dropping his photo-op team of global experts from Cornell, Columbia University, and the MTA. Watch the press conference here:

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L Train Tunnel to Get Hard Look From Amazon Cuomo Tonight

Amazon Cuomo (courtesy of Zak Seward)

Governor ‘Amazon’ Cuomo is set to tour the L train’s Canarsie tunnel on Thursday night ahead of the subway line’s 15-month shutdown between Manhattan and Brooklyn that is scheduled to start in April 2019.

While not exactly an eleventh-hour visit (pun intended), Cuomo will descend into the hurricane-ravaged tunnel flanked by ‘national and international experts’ for a photo-op around midnight.

This means some late night schedule changes on the L train tonight: the overnight schedule will begin at 12 a.m. instead of 1:30 a.m., when trains will run every 20 minutes. Regular service will resume at 1:30 a.m.

Amazon Cuomo called into WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday to dish on an array of issues facing the Empire State, including the impending L train shutdown. Read Cuomo’s meandering take on his L train visit:

“I am this week going to take a look myself at the L train. And as a project to close the tunnel that carries the L train, it would be highly disruptive for many people, of course. You want to make sure the tunnel is safe, and the train is safe. But this Thursday night, midnight, I’m gonna take a tour to make sure we are doing everything we can and explore every option to reduce any possible disruption.

I did the same thing with the 2nd Avenue subway to make sure that the bureaucracy is being flexible and open and creative. Because these are vital services; you close down the L train, they’re talking about 15 months, it creates a major problem.

The city’s worked very hard, the MTA has worked hard to come up with alternatives. But the functionality of this agency is key, and when it becomes a major situation that I can get involved in directly, like the 2nd Avenue subway…But the MTA day-to-day having the funding, to buy new trains, put in that new signal system, do the construction on time, that is vital. Remebering that the whole system is, has been neglected for decades, it’s a 100 year old system, and the volume is multiple times what it was designed to handle.”

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Lyft Buys Citi Bike, Plans Electronic Bike Expansion

Citit bikes (Shinya Suzuki)

The Citi Bike presence in North Brooklyn and New York City as a whole will continue to grow at a time when the program’s parent company Motivate will be acquired by ride-sharing company Lyft, in a plan that includes a $100 million investment by Lyft over the next five years, the Mayor’s office announced last week.

A statement from the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio explains that the investment by Lyft will repair the existing 12,000 Citi bikes and expand the fleet of both regular and electronic pedal assist bikes to 40,000 while doubling the current service area. Although the ‘vast majority’ (around 30,000) of the new Citi bikes will be electronic, Gothamist reports. NYC lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize e-scooters and pedal assist bikes last week, but Mayor de Blasio said he’s “seeing too many problems” with e-bikes, referring to the complaints his office receives over the handle grip throttle e-bikes that are popular with food delivery workers.    Continue reading

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Northern Territory Hibernating for Winter, Closing in 2019

The summer rooftop crowd at Northern Territory

Northern Territory (12 Franklin St.) is closing for the winter, and summer 2019 will be the popular bar’s last at the current Franklin Street location.

You can come to say goodbye in person to the Northern Territory crew at their Winter Hibernation Party on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 4 p.m. – close, where Greenpointers staff will be guest bartending with pumpkin spice hot mulled apple cider, a crowd favorite from our Samhain Fall Market.

Owner Jamie Toll says the cold winter months bring a large reduction of customers along with significantly less foot traffic near the once-barren waterfront region at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

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L Train Officially Shuts Down April 27th

The MTA confirmed today that the L train’s 15-month shutdown between 8th Avenue in Manhattan and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn will start on April 27th of next year.

The damage to the Canarsie Tunnel caused by the floodwaters of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 will be repaired through 2020, during which time the L train will run as usual in Brooklyn between Bedford Avenue and Rockaway Parkway. Continue reading

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Get Ready: No L Train Every Weekend in October

L-train

File this one under doomsday prep: as we announced previously, the MTA is shutting down the L train every single weekend in October between Eighth Avenue and Broadway Junction (the train will run between Broadway Junction and Canarsie). The severe pain-in-the-train begins on Friday nights at 11:30pm and lasts until 5am Monday morning. If you get desperate, there will be shuttle buses along the train line. Signs will be posted at affected stations and subway and bus routes, and NYC Transit staff will also be available at select stations to answer questions and provide information. Continue reading

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