The Lefferts Blvd. Stairway in 24/7 still life.
It’s almost the middle of May, about 6 weeks into the 2nd quarter of 2017, and the notorious tardiness renovating the Lefferts Blvd. station continues unabated and sadly unconcerned by the higher administrative brass and even the thousands of commuters who rely on this heavily populated hub. The stairway and the handicap accessible elevator looks complete but is still surrounded by machinery, giant orange thimbles and partition fencing obstructing the majority of the sidewalk. And it’s still causing massive bottlenecks of people exiting and entering the station.
But during my last visit, I happened to meet the curators of the year long fecal art exhibition at the turnstiles.
Apparently, in spite of recent attempts to clean the area, the pigeon populace has settled quite nicely and comfortably during this essential and glacial upgrade.
In fact, it looks like the MTA’s hired contractors built a coop
But, for the sake of empathy and pretension, I might doth protest too much. For this is just standard procedure.
The Worst Transit System In The Fucking Universe has been giving their customers a wild ride for the last couple of weeks, for there has been a plethora of coverage of the MTA’s atrocious construction and daily service delays that are verging on the tragicomic, frustrating, nerve-rattling, and surreal and a true test on human collective sanity.
For starters, an event, and it seems you can’t go a second without hearing one these days, was held for the 100th anniversary of the 7 line in Queens that was followed by an alarming report of the horrid condition of the elevated structure which hasn’t been painted for 3 decades that was shedding chunks and chips of old lead paint over the densely populated Roosevelt Avenue.
There was the grand unheralded opening of the elevator at Briarwood/Van Wyck on Queens Blvd, an achievement that would have got some praise if Mario’s son threw a craft brew festival surrounding it but it turns out that it took 3 years to build because of the need for super special mechanical parts. I surmise that it took a worldwide expedition to find these vaunted materials and the hiring of an adventuring Indiana Jones type for the amount of time expended.
The timing of it’s opening is quite impeccable considering a recent report on a massive percentage of inoperative elevators and escalators for the handicapped and elderly commuters, most recently spotlighted by the perpetually malfunctioning people mover by Court Square in Long Island City and the masking tape decorated paperweight collecting dust that is the subject of this posting.
These necessities being denied the state tax paying commuters barely competes with delays occurring almost daily from signal and electrical breakdowns, homeless spillover occupying cars, sick passengers, decaying infrastructure and ambiguous investigations throwing the city into chaos. The timing of these mass transit travesties mostly happening during the peak rush hours.
There was the day when a mysterious blackout at the 7th avenue station in Manhattan which serves the B, D & E that caused hours of delays and rerouting of almost every line. A similar incident happened recently at 36th street station in Brooklyn, causing reroutes of over 8 lines. One day the Q train had to be shut down for an investigation because a swastika was drawn on a seat. A big slab of concrete fell on an train that pulled into the Franklin Ave station on the 3 line in Crown Heights. Yesterday, a sick passenger shut down the city bound A and C lines.
There are the now weekly breakdowns and delays at Penn Station, notably the feces spewing ceiling geyser. And the 4 billion dollar luxury shopping mall atrocity Oculus couldn’t even hold the force of nature’s fluids during last weeks downpour, which had the semblance of the skies vomiting water. It should not be a surprise of that hub’s vulnerability since it’s designed like a dish rack.
What can be done to stem this inexcusable, disgusting and just plain shitty service that the people of this city are paying for day after day, fare increase after fare increase. Maybe 65 million dollars might be enough to keep the trains coming on time and make the essential upgrades for the systems antiquated signal system, perilous underground infrastructure and aging rails and tracks. But remember, Mario’s son Governor Cuomo inexplicably reallocated that funding to the city he so anecdotally talked about when he christened the Kosciusko Bridge with that cheesy Window Media Player 9 light show. That’s why it boggles the collective frustrated mind of the citizenry that Andy allocated some funding to redesigning 3 stations by Sunset Park and fitting it with free wifi, and the only improvements the transit system has seen is just cosmetic and goddamn wifi. It’s also bewildering with the amount of space sold to advertisers, even fully covering train cars to turnstiles and the billions of tourists that would populate Jupiter and Saturn that the money generated is still not enough to finance our transit system city and state wide. Where does all the fucking money go????
So it’s time to adapt then die to the further malaise of commuting on The Worst Fucking Transit System In The Universe. If there is a proper analogy for this, it’s like what commuters are experiencing is the Kübler-Ross theory, the 5 stages approaching death every early morning and evening in the past few weeks, but skipping grief and went straight to anger and is holding steady there. Let’s make sure Mario’s Son feels the wrath breathing down his wrinkled neck by remaining pissed and not bargain and succumb to fear and acceptance. And not to take any more shit.
Especially and specifically this shit.
Whose trains? OUR TRAINS!!!
Update: I profanely asked where does the money go from all the space that are sold to advertisements, and it seems to go into overtime for some certain dedicated workers. From an audit by a conservative think tank, the Empire Center of Public Policy, overtime pay cost the taxpayers close to a billion dollars. The most ludicrous was a track worker who actually earned more than the MTA commissioner at the time. Supposedly, these massive earnings, for technically a few hours of work, are justified because of the alleged efficiency it brings to the transit system with workers on the job. Somehow it might be more cost effective to hire people work those hours into later shifts and it would probably save a few hundred grand.