Businesses rail against weekend L train closure

Gravy train
Ben Prewitt

They are raising L.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must suspend its plan to halt L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for five consecutive weekends in April and May even though the agency claims it can’t, says a cohort of Williamsburg and Greenpoint business owners who fear the closure will cost them big bucks.

“I have 500 people scheduled for classes during those weekends, and I am going to have to let them know that they will not be able to reach us,” said Taylor Erkkinen, owner of the Brooklyn Kitchen, a store at Frost Street and Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg that also offers cooking classes. “It will clearly be thousands of dollars worth of lost business for me.”

The L train will run only between the Lorimer Street station in Williamsburg and the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway stop from Friday night to Monday morning for five weekends between April 18 and May 18. The authority says it will provide a shuttle bus from the Lorimer Street station to the Marcy Avenue stop, and also beef up bus services in Manhattan.

More than 300 people have signed an online petition, which asks the authority to change the dates until later in the year, when business is slower.

“Why couldn’t they do this back in January or plan something else?” said Tyler Boss, a clerk at Desert Island Comics on Metropolitan Avenue. “This sounds like mismanagement.”

The transit authority has acquiesced to the neighborhood businesses on service suspension before. The Northside Merchants Association convinced the agency to switch a weekend L train closure that was set to take place during the annual Northside music festival in 2013. And the agency has worked with the merchants association on a few other occasions to make sure track work did not conflict with important neighborhood events, according to Northside Merchants Association manager Caitlin Dourmashkin.

But the authority says it won’t be moved this time.

“Unfortunately, it cannot be rescheduled later in the year because it cannot coincide with other scheduled work on the J-Z and G lines,” said spokeswoman Marisa Baldeo.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurf[email protected]nglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Kitchen nightmare: Brooklyn Kitchen owner Taylor Erkkinen says halting weekend L train services will cost her business thousands of tourist dollars.
Photo by Jason Speakman