Riders who depend on the 7 train are in for more headaches over the next few months. Starting late Friday night, the MTA will suspend service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for 13 weekends through July. In that time, the MTA plans to complete infrastructure work, track replacement and signal system upgrades.
Shuttle buses will provide alternate service, but business owners in Long Island City fear the longer ride will deter potential customers. Rebecca Trent, who owns "The Creek and Cave" comedy club, said because of the suspension she's expecting "tumbleweeds" at her shows this weekend.
"My fear is that they're going to shut down the trains long enough, to make these improvements long enough, for the next business that gets to enjoy this space to come in and sign the lease after I'm gone," Trent said.
Sheila Lewandowski owns the Chocolate Factory Theater and said shutdowns like these prohibit Long Island City from establishing itself as a destination, as opposed to just a commuter district. "It's wrong. And we're trying to make Queens and Long Island City a place where people come for entertainment. For shopping. To live," Lewandowski said. "If we continue to perpetuate the idea that we are not accessible consistently, then we will not be accessed."
One Queens attraction that won't be affected: the MTA says it's taken the Mets home schedule into account and won't disrupt 7 train service during games.