Everything must go.
The vendor that’s been operating for years out of a hole-in-the-wall at the 86th Street subway station in Bay Ridge will be closing up shop for good come February’s end.
“We lost the lease,” said an employee at the shop, located on the floor above the R train platform, adjacent to the stairs. “We’re done at the end of the month.”
While the employee believes that another vendor is being sought for the location, a recent Community Board 10 Traffic and Transportation Committee report on the status of a coming elevator at the station stated that the vendor is instead being evicted in an effort to accommodate a platform stair that will be built in the shop’s place as part of the project to make the station ADA-compliant.
“They’re not renewing the lease because of the project,” Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann confirmed to this paper. “That’s what the MTA told us.”
According to the board’s report, the project – which will consist of the MTA working to build an elevator on the southeast side of the station by Plaka Restaurant without closing the station – will significantly change the footprint of the station, both above and below ground.
“This project will begin by building a permanent second stairwell from the street on the west side of Fourth Avenue (down from Mocha Mocha),” read the report, delivered at the board’s January general meeting by committee chair Jayne Capetanakis. “There will still be bus stops along that side of the street. However, there will now be two stairwells down to the train station on that side of the street.”
This part of the project, she said, will take six to eight months to build, during which time the buses that stop there will be relocated one block ahead.
“Then, they will use the existing stairwell on the south east corner to begin building the elevator,” Capetanakis said.
Furthermore, on the southeast side of the street, to make room for the elevator, the MTA will be utilizing what is currently a traffic lane. “This is because there are sewers in the sidewalks and they need to make this wider than the existing sidewalk,” she said, stressing that, while this street work is underway, buses would stop at 87th and 88th Street. “This is [phase two] of the project and will take another six to eight months.”
The final part of the approximately 26-month project, Capetanakis said, is the creation of a short ramp in the station’s mezzanine that will allow access to the elevator. “That is why they must move the stairs over to where the vendor [has] been,” she said.
No matter the reason, locals agreed, the store’s closure is a pity.
“It’s a shame,” said one rider. “It’s so convenient.”
Another straphanger saw the pros and cons.
“It’ll be sad to see it go. That place has been a staple of my daily commute since I moved here,” said Bay Ridge resident and R train frequenter Jim Rohner. “But I understand the necessity of an elevator too. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve seen struggling to get up and down those stairs with strollers, packages, groceries, etc. Peak of rush hour, it’s not just an inconvenience for them, but people who are also trying to get to and from trains.”
The project is slated to begin towards the end of this year, with work on the mezzanine set to begin in early 2018.
By press time, the MTA could not be reached for comment on the closure of the shop.