Jan. 16, 2014 By Christian Murray
Several Long Island City residents and business owners will be coming out Friday morning to announce that they are fed up with the patchy No. 7 train weekend service.
Tomorrow, organized by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a coalition of community leaders, elected officials and cultural groups will be holding a protest rally at the Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue station at 11 am to make their displeasure known.
The rally follows the announcement that the MTA will be shutting down No. 7 train service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for 22 weekends this year.
Furthermore, some of the local service between Queensboro Plaza and Flushing will be suspended for some of those weekends.
“22 weekends of closures in 2014 is outrageous and will hurt hundreds of thousands of people and threatens to kill our small businesses,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Enough is enough.”
Rebecca Trent, who owns the Creek and the Cave at 10-93 Jackson Avenue, said the weekend service outages are devastating to local businesses. “I’m trying to elevate the scene in Long Island City,” she said, “but it’s tough if people can’t get here.”
Trent, who also runs LIC Eateries, a group comprised of a number of neighborhood restaurants, said that the members are extremely unhappy.
“The MTA just comes on in and says: ‘Here’s the schedule [of closures], now go F-yourself,” Trent said. “The MTA has to start to recognize that we can’t be treated like this—that business people have families to look after… and businesses have to survive.”
Trent said she is making up signs, contacting friends and trying to get everyone to the rally.
The cultural institutions such as the MoMA PS1, the Noguchi Museum and the Chocolate Factory are also mobilizing and will be there to protest. So too will the Long Island City Partnership.
“It is time that the MTA hears the voices of the thousands of business owners, cultural groups and residents who rely on the 7 train,” Van Bramer said. “The residents of the 26th District deserve better. We cannot continue to allow the MTA to disrupt our way of life.”
Several elected officials representing districts that will suffer as a result of the closures will be in attendance, such as Councilmen Danny Dromm (Jackson Heights) and Peter Koo (Flushing).
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and State Sen. Mike Gianaris will also be attending.
Location: Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave. station
Date: Friday, Jan. 17
Time: 11 am