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F-ast and F-urious: Coney Islanders demand return of express F train • Brooklyn Paper

F-ast and F-urious: Coney Islanders demand return of express F train

About F’n time: Councilman Mark Treyger is tired of waiting for the F train, and is calling upon the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to restore express service to the line, which was axed in 2010.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

They ain’t F’ing around!

Coney Islanders say it’s time to restore express F train service to the busier-than-ever amusement district — now that sworn enemies Mayor DeBlasio and Gov. Cuomo finally shook hands on a plan to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the next four years.

“When they pass budgets, we have to be accounted for,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island). “We matter.”

The authority axed express F service in 2010 amidst broad-stroke cuts to subway and bus service in an effort to plug the a then-$400 million budget gap.

Treyger’s push comes at a seminal moment for Coney, because the neighborhood’s iconic amusement district — home to Luna Park and Nathan’s Famous hot dogs — is enjoying a renaissance not seen since tourism peaked at 15 million visitors annually in the 1960s, according to the area’s unofficial mayor.

“Coney Island has a lot more to offer than it did even three or four years ago, so an express train is appropriate, and I’m thrilled he’s working on it,” said Dick Zigun, founder of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.

And the city hopes to build on that momentum by seizing several private lots to build more thrill rides and some park land.

Now, local businesses are gearing up a grass-roots push supporting restored express F service, the head of a trade group said.

“I’m bracing myself on this,” said Johanna Zaki, director of the Alliance for Coney Island.

Treyger and a slew of Southern Brooklyn politicians plan to roll out a restoration campaign later this year, a Treyger spokesman said.

The only people cringing at the prospect of a brisk 40-minute train ride from Downtown are area workers that used tardy F Trains as an excuse for their own lateness, one area business owner said.

“I think it would be good for business in terms of getting my workers in on time,” said Footprints Cafe manager Ava Morgan. “Some of the time they say the train is delayed, so they come in an hour or an hour-and-a-half late!”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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