The A train is back in the Rockaways after Storm Sandy knocked it out for seven months. With its return, the last empty space on the subway map has been restored, post-flood.
About 30,000 riders in The Rockaways depend on the A train each weekday. Barbara Ann Ianacci, who was waiting for the first train to the peninsula at Howard Beach station on Thursday, said getting around without the train has been tough.
"The shuttle bus was very stressful, especially for the people coming and going to work from The Rockaways," she said. "I'm happy the A Train is coming back. I'm going to ride around awhile--go to the beach and just enjoy it."
Not everyone on the A train is a commuter. Juan Medina rides the train from his apartment on the Lower East Side to fishing spots around Jamaica Bay. "Sometimes it gets a little boring in Manhattan so I come out here," he said. "It's like my little sanctuary over here. I've been hearing the blue fish are running and that the stripers are still running--that's my objective."
The MTA says the 3.7-mile stretch of the A line between the Howard Beach and Broad Channel stations is the most exposed area in the city's subway system. The authority says it cost $75 million to restore service, which is only part of the estimated $650 million it will take to upgrade and harden the line against future storms.
The authority has already built a two-mile steel wall to protect the tracks from Jamaica Bay.