The Corner


A Question for Brooklyn

The L Train, which carries the beautiful people from their lofts in Williamsburg to their jobs in Manhattan, will be closed for more than a year for repairs beginning in 2019. These repairs are necessary because of damage done to a tunnel by flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy. Writing in AM New York, Lauren Cook offers this account:

In 2012, superstorm Sandy’s storm surge flooded the 100-year-old Canarsie Tunnel under the East River with millions of gallons of salt water, causing severe damage.

In response, the MTA said it would need to shut down the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 15 months beginning in April 2019 so that it could make critical repairs.

Writing in Wired, Alex Davies has a structurally similar account:

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy flooded the the 92-year-old Canarsie tunnel, which takes straphangers under the East River, with 7 million gallons of seawater. So, in just over a year, the stretch of the L subway train that runs from the west side of Manhattan, along 14th St, and through the tunnel into Brooklyn will go on a 15-month hiatus.

The same basic facts are found in the New York Times account:

After months of uncertainty, the authority said on Monday that the tunnel, which runs under the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, would be shut entirely for a year and a half, starting in January 2019, to repair serious damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The same narrative elements are present in all of these accounts: There was a terrible storm in 2012 that damaged the tunnel; repairs beginning in 2019 will shut down L Train service for a year and a half, etc. What strikes me as remarkable is that none of these accounts contains any half-serious attempt to explain to the curious reader such as myself why in the name of all that is good and holy it is taking all these years to get from Hurricane Sandy to Hurricane Sandy repairs.

Assuming those repairs are done on schedule (ho, ho!) nearly nine years will have passed between Sandy and the completion of storm repairs. That’s twice as long as it took the United States to defeat the Axis powers, twice as long as the Civil War, longer than the time that elapsed between John Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon” speech and landing Americans on the moon. It’s longer than it took for James Joyce to write Ulysses.



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