Hurricane Sandy Strikes Again With Subway Shutdowns

A drenching by hurricane Sandy forced repairs that the MTA is just starting. (Photo by Mitchell Trinka)
A drenching by Hurricane Sandy forced repairs that the MTA is just beginning. (Photo by Mitchell Trinka)

“It’s horrible, it’s very bad news,” said Staten Island resident Laura Dominguez after learning that the Montague street tunnel connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan will be closed for up to 14 months starting the first week in August. “This makes my commute even longer and I already take two trains and a ferry.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is closing the tunnel for 14 months beginning in August to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy. Dominguez, who takes the R train from Whitehall Street to work at Metrotech in Brooklyn daily, will now have to find an alternate route on either the 1, 4 or 5 trains. She said she’ll also have to make an additional transfer to the A, C or F lines.

On weekdays the R train will run in two separate sections: From Court Street to Bay Ridge-95th Street in Brooklyn, and from Forest Hills-71st Avenue in Queens to Whitehall Street in Manhattan.

On weekends and during late night, the train will be rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge and once again run as one train, but will bypass six stations: City Hall, Cortlandt Street, Rector Street, Whitehall Street-South Ferry, Court Street and Jay Street-Metrotech.

The N train will also be rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge during late night service.

By happenstance, the G will also experience repairs, forcing service to stop 12 weekends this year and a five-week shut down in the summer of 2014. The weekends include: July 6, July 13, July 20, Aug. 3, Aug. 10, Aug. 17, Aug. 24, Sept. 7, Sept. 28, Oct. 5 and Dec. 7. During weekend closures a bus shuttle will make all stops between Nassau Avenue and Church Avenue. Shuttle service will not serve Greenpoint Avenue, 21st Street and Court Square during weekend closures at those stations, according to the MTA.

Riders such as Fort Greene resident Hector Lopez are upset. “I take the R to work in lower Manhattan and this will slow me down every day,” he said. “I am sad about it and upset with the city that this is happening.”

Kim Raber, a local artist who was getting on the subway at Fulton Street, said that the closure will affect her business greatly.

“A lot of artists are being effected by this,” she said. “I have studios I need to work at in Long Island City, Manhattan and Brooklyn and this will make that much more difficult.”

Raber complained that the MTA’s announcement was “very last minute.”

“Considering how important these trains are to people there should have been more notice and warning to people ahead of time so they could figure out how to circumvent it,” she said.


The closures don’t only impact trains that are being rerouted, but other subways which are sure to have increased number of riders on them. Fort Greene native Dorian Smith, who works in Manhattan at night, said that the extra straphangers that are sure to come to the Q train will make his nightly commute to Manhattan more difficult.

“It’s tough because the subways at the time I ride them are packed enough,” Smith said. “The last thing these trains need are people who used to use the R filling up other trains.”

The MTA has released a map to help straphangers navigate the changes. The map highlights Court Street-Borough Hall, Jay Street-Metrotech, Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and 4th Avenue-9th Street as helpful transfer points.

How will the changes to subway service change your commute, locals? Let us know in the comments below.