Angry Queens residents met with MTA officials Thursday to demand more convenient travel alternatives in the ongoing project that's disrupting 7 train service for 22 weekends out of the year.
The line, which is currently undergoing a $550 million facelift, isn't offering service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza intermittently for 13 weekends through mid-July. The project began in February.
"They're harming our business," art gallery owner David Drimmer said at a community meeting in Long Island City. "Saturday is everything to a retailer."
Drimmer said the disruptions, specifically during a planned Long Island City festival in May, could cost his business about 20 percent of the yearly profit.
"They're closing down the street [for the festival] but you can't even get there," said gallery co-owner Donna Drimmer. "Completely cutting us off not only from Queens but Manhattan."
The MTA promises more, newer trains, along with better safety and reliability. But city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said the agency isn't doing enough to help businesses and riders.
"I think we've had almost 40 percent of weekends where there's no service," said Van Bramer.
One of the biggest requests from residents in Long Island City has been a direct shuttle service from Queens to Manhattan. Currently, they have to take a shuttle bus further back into Queens in order to take another subway line like the E or the N.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris believes a direct shuttle to Manhattan could be affordable and reasonable. But the MTA disagrees and says a bi-borough shuttle would be expensive and unnecessary when alternatives already exist.
"They have two options: Queensboro Plaza, the N, and then they can also use the E," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.
Gianaris said if the issue doesn't get resolved, he could take it to the mayor or even the governor.