Astoria, Shopping
Feb 13, 2018

A Recap of the Meeting With the MTA at Katch

30th and 36th Avenues need your help and $$$!

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Image source: Adam_T4 via the WHA Flickr Pool

As you may remember, Katch hosted a meeting with the MTA, local businesses, and community members earlier this month. We were curious to know what happened and reached out to the McSorleys, the new folks that run the place. Here’s what we learned:

About 80 business owners from the area attended—that’s a significant number. Obviously there is real concern among business owners, enough for them to take time out of their busy day to speak with representatives who could listen to their concerns and potentially improve their situation.

The meeting went like this: the MTA discussed the project, listened to the concerns of the community, but did not offer any solutions at the meeting. So, was this for all for show? That certainly is a possibility. Business owners asked the MTA reps about various solutions and came to the meeting with concrete suggestions: like shuttles (why there are no shuttles now is a mystery), financial compensation for business loss—but none were agreed to.

The business owners emphasized that the decrease in business and loss of customers is real, and their absence has contributed heavily to closures and losing businesses. And while the obvious result from the MTA project is less foot traffic, another problem that has cropped up is the decrease in parking availability near the subway stations, which further impacts the issue.

It’s no surprise that the room was very emotional during the meeting, and people are overwhelmingly upset to see their businesses—both new and old—suffer like this. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating that the MTA is offering no solution for relief.

From the McSorleys: “The impact of this project is severe and most business owners were unaware of exactly how impactful the plans for this project were going to be—there is a big fear that more businesses will close and the area and community will be further impacted. Unemployment in the area will also become reality soon—most businesses will need to decrease staff because they can’t pay them. This was a discussion at the meeting, as well as inability to pay rents, which will also impact the real estate owners in the area.”

As you can see, the situation is quite dire. We understand the need and desire to improve the subway stations, but surely there is a way to do that without causing harm to the local economy—like implementing work during nighttime, working on half the station at a time, and even—shocker—encouraging the people working on these stations be more efficient while they work. I can’t tell you how many times I have been on the subway (the 7 train comes to mind) and glance over at the people working and half of them are sitting around.

If you are a local business on 30th or 36th Avenues and are affected by the temporary closures of these N/W subway stations, please feel free to contact us with your thoughts, concerns, and any specials you might be running. We’ll be publishing another article on this story next week.

We encourage those of you who are reading this to support our local businesses by stopping by and providing an economic boost with a purchase of something practical, delicious, or beautiful.

This post has been edited.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

3 Comments

Alexis "Hellas Andras!" Tsipras

Let’s all hope that better businesses come out of this. I heard about Starbucks replacing the dollar store. Big deal. Clearly, that had to go, but Starbucks is already an outdated chain. Besides, I don’t like their coffee anyhow. Better businesses that help to enliven the neighborhood please.

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Astoria Resident

Glad this article was published! It’s unfortunate how the MTA has impacted local businesses and how Astorians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the poor level of execution in fixing these stops.

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Bethany

I was walking down Steinway between 30th and 31st Avenue the other day, and I noticed that every other storefront seemed to have gone out of business. Maybe I just haven’t seen that area lately, but it was shocking. Is this a new development related to the subway closures?

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