New York's subways are one of the world's oldest, which makes renovation, replacement and other maintenance necessary, typically on weekends and late nights. The 7 train, which runs from Times Square to Flushing, Queens is "quirky" on most days, yet it serves as the lifeline of several Queens neighborhoods.
Replacement of signals and other equipment along the line led the MTA to shut down weekend service on the Queens-Manhattan link (Queensboro Plaza to Times Square) for three months, starting last Friday and ending on the weekend of March 22-25.
Though line suspensions and service changes are nothing new to the MTA’s several lines, most impacted by this change will be Flushing restaurants and other businesses, which count on the Lunar New Year weekends to drum up tourism revenue. Alternatives exist, including indirect transfers to the 7 line, shuttle buses and commuter vans from Manhattan and Brooklyn Chinatowns, but given the neighborhood’s location, the loss of a direct link will be an inconvenience that will surely slow down casual passenger traffic.
In typical form, the MTA refused to entertain the idea of suspending the service suspensions on those weekends. Critics of those efforts point to St Patrick’s Day also falling during the service suspensions, though that would be largely irrelevant to all but a few establishments along the 7 line. Service disruptions plagued the previous Lunar New Year parade on February 4.
Somewhat notable is that this is just the latest of several service suspensions along the 7, including five weekends last fall. Local politicians were successful in having service disruptions during Lunar New Year halted in 2008.
Compounded with recent refusals from city officials to recognize Lunar New Year as a school holiday, it is still readily apparent that the needs of immigrant communities and neighborhoods are “inconvenient.” Moving the repairs to the summer would allow riders to avoid, at the very least, waiting in the winter cold for shuttles. When asked about moving the repairs to the summer months MTA spokesperson Deirdre Parker noted to DNA.info:
"We need to get this done during the winter months so that we don’t interfere with Mets baseball, U.S. Tennis Open and other summer events,"
This Mets fan assures readers that any disillusioned fan still determined enough to go to a Mets game will find a way around a summertime service disruption.