The usually bustling N/R subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, was shuttered today, the first morning of the transit strike in New York City.
Officers from the NYPD were on the scene, saying they were checking all the stations to make sure there was no mischief. Mischief? Transit workers have keys, one explained.
Out on the street, commuters huddled in the 20 degree chill. A middle-aged Latina in a black parka and scarf paced back and forth, warding off the cold as best she could. She wouldn’t give her name, and she wouldn’t say which side–the union or MTA management–she supported. She did say, however, that her company in Manhattan had hired private buses to bring in people who usually take these lines into work. Now she had been waiting 45 minutes for one.
“It’s very difficult to travel,” she said. “I have no way else to get around. It shouldn’t happen. I hope it doesn’t last.”
Over at the corner of 36th Street and Fifth Avenue, well more than a 100 MTA workers were picketed a transit station there. Cars honked at the workers chanting “We want a contract and we want it now!”
Bradley Schiff, an electronic equipment maintainer who started with the MTA in July, said he was plenty cold, too. He lives in Bay Ridge, south of Sunset Park, and had walked from 90th Street to reach the rally.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Schiff said. “I had to walk 60 blocks. It took me an hour. I was thinking, I hope when I get here, I can get inside the building.”
He could not.