More bad news for bars and restaurants in North Brooklyn on the L train front — a potential nights and weekends shutdown between Brooklyn and Manhattan could take as long as seven years, according to Bedford and Bowery. The chief of staff for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Mina Elias, told a group of concerned residents and business owners on Wednesday night that the MTA mentioned the option of a lengthy nights and weekends shutdown at a closed door meeting earlier this month. But just as with all the current rumblings with the L train, the MTA has yet to make a final decision on what they plan to do to fix the damaged Canarsie tube.
The MTA needs to fix the L train, and scenarios like shutting it down 24-hours, for as many as three years, have been tossed around. Bars and restaurants have already called it "a potential nightmare scenario" for the survival of their small businesses, and local elected officials have expressed dramatic concern for the survival of the community as well.
But a lengthy nights and weekends shutdown would particularly impact bars and restaurants, which do most of their sales around that time. "When they call it off peak, it’s hard for us to digest," Matthew Webber, who owns places like Soft Spot, The Narrows, and King Noodle, has previously told Eater. "Their idea of off peak and our idea of off peak are diametrically opposed." Ideas like building a new tube are costly and may not be finished in time.
Still, Elias told the group that safety is becoming an issue if the tube is not fixed, including possible derailments and signal failures. The MTA is also worried about losing Sandy funds if they don't act soon, though definitive plans have yet to be presented. "There are options on the table, none of them are good," Elias says.