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Bushwick residents: We won’t leave our homes for MTA’s track works!

Home turf: Ditmars Street residents Ada Hernandez, Jose Marin, and Carmen Hernandez say they will fight the transit authority’s marching orders.
Photo by Jason Speakman

They shall not be M-oved!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must find a way to repair a stretch of M train tracks in Bushwick without evicting people in the houses below, dozens of locals demanded at a meeting on Tuesday, where those facing the boot vowed to fight the marching orders that landed in their mailboxes this week.

“I’ve been here 48 years and I’m not going anywhere,” said Ada Hernandez, whose family has lived in the same Ditmars Street house for generations.

The transit agency sent letters to the residents of around 26 units below the rails in the small street between Broadway and Myrtle Avenue informing them that it is booting them out for six to 10 months starting in the summer of next year, while it straightens out the tracks above so the subway can run faster. The authority said it would help them relocate temporarily, or, if they prefer, it will buy their houses outright.

But the displaced denizens are afraid the work will actually take years to complete, and they will never be able to move back in. They also fear the construction work will damage their buildings irreparably.

The residents — many of whom are Spanish speakers, while one only speaks Mandarin — say no one from the agency has reached out to have a face-to-face conversation with them so far, and the little information they have received is only contributing to the confusion. One said she was told the renovations would take 10 months, but her neighbor was told at least a year.

Knock, knock: A Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker goes door to door speaking with residents on April 23.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Hernandez said around 20 transit honchos came to her place last summer and took photos of her yard. At the time, she thought nothing of it, but now she’s angry they kept the eviction plan a secret for so long.

“The way they approached this was so sneaky,” she said.

One local pol denounced the whole situation as “extremely disrespectful,” and pledged to help the residents fight the transit body’s eviction orders.

“No one is going to tell you where to relocate — we are gonna fight,” said Assemblywoman Mariza Davila (D–Bushwick). “This is the United States of America. We cannot allow this to happen.”

Davila said she plans on teaming up with state Sen. Martin Malave Dilan (D–Bushwick) — who heads the senate’s transportation committee — and will meet with transit agency officials next week to demand they hold a public meeting with the residents.

Reach reporter Madeline Anthony by e-mail at manthony@cnglocal.com or by pnone at (718) 260–8321.
Railing against: The M train tracks run right next to Ditmars Street houses.
Photo by Jason Speakman

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