MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) – As the MTA continues to work on improving the No. 7 line from Manhattan to Flushing, on Wednesday riders at Grand Central-42nd Street had to work themselves – the escalators were down.
The entrance on 42nd Street between Lexington and Third Avenue reopened about a week and a half ago. Wednesday was at least the second time that escalators were not fully functioning.
“I was not happy when I saw this. I thought this would be up, but this still isn’t open,” said 81-year-old Francine Reff, who is a lifetime New Yorker. “I am tired and it’s hot. I already had to walk around from one part of the subway station to another due to the construction. Luckily, I gave myself plenty of time to make it to my appointments today.”
At least 50 subway passengers lumbered up the stairs late Wednesday morning, some with disabilities, some with bags, as well as mothers with strollers. One man wearing a backpack looked up the stairs and said, “I cannot do this today,” walked away from the escalator and walked across to another exit.
The MTA started making improvements to the Grand Central-42nd Street station in December 2022, and the project is expected to be completed in 2025, according to the agency’s website.
“When escalators are returned to service, it is routine for brief, subsequent maintenance as mechanical components stretch from the weight of newly added passenger volume,” a spokesperson for the MTA told PIX11 News on Wednesday. “Crews are on-site making adjustments to return the escalator to service as soon as possible.”
Service was restored to the escalator at 7 p.m. Wednesday, an MTA spokesperson said.
One of the oldest public transportation systems in the world, the MTA consistently faces challenges with updating aging infrastructure. Last week, a water main broke in Times Square which affected subway service on several lines.
“I don’t understand how we can call ourselves the greatest city in the world when our subway lines are like this,” Stuart, another New Yorker who works in real estate, told PIX11 on Wednesday. “My wife is from the UK, and we go overseas often, and they don’t have these issues. We have more people, we need more management and leadership, and we are not getting it anywhere. Things will get worse before they get better. I am a fit guy, so this isn’t too bad on me but what about people who have it rough?”