via Artnet News (11/03/05) :
MTA KILLING WILLIAMSBURG ART?
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to shut down the subway’s L train line, which carries passengers between midtown Manhattan and stops in Williamsburg and other Queens neighborhoods, for eight weekends in early 2006 -- a move that is "killing Williamsburg," according to Karen Marston, a boardmember of the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Nurtureart. In an open letter published in the local L Magazine, Marston claimed that the move would significantly harm the area’s 52 art galleries. An estimated 75 percent of business to the district comes from weekend traffic from Manhattan.
Marston found out about the as-yet-unannounced closures by accident, when she discovered that an upcoming performance art festival, "Williamsburg Celebrates Performa05," sponsored by Nurtureart along with Dam Stuhltrager Gallery, Galería Galou, Goliath Visual Artspace, Jack the Pelican, Momenta and Parker’s Box, coincided with a scheduled L shutdown on Nov. 12, 2005. Phoning the MTA, Marston says that assistant director of community relations, Andy Inglesby, informed her that the closure could not be rescheduled because of the large amount of work the MTA was planning for the line -- including the eight weekends in 2006. The MTA plans to provide bus service to take up the slack. "Williamsburg Celebrates Performa05" was rescheduled for Nov. 4-5, 2005.
Brooklyn assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol has joined Marston, issuing a statement calling on the MTA for greater transparency and accountability to the community, and alleging that the closures are part of the MTA’s controversial L train upgrade, already more than one year behind schedule and massively over budget, something that could explain why the MTA is attempting to cram the work into full weekend shutdowns instead of working with partial stoppages at night. The Williamsburg art community currently awaits the announcement of the exact dates in order to plan its winter season.
more info about Performa05:
more L train coverage:
Brooklyn Shop Owners Say L Train Tunnel Closure Will Hurt Business, NY1, 11/03/05
More Weekend L Train Disruptions Through 2006, Gothamist, 10/31/05
L-Ification, New York Magazine, Oct 31, 2005
The L train is pushing hipster civilization ever deeper into Brooklyn. A quest to find the new edge of gentrification...