Shops near L train in Brooklyn already suffering
NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - The L train shutdown is still eight months out, but businesses in Williamsburg by the line's busiest Brooklyn stop are already feeling the pain.
"The business, late night, especially after seven, eight o'clock, it's dead," said Nestor "George" Acosta, who has owned Anna Maria Pizza on Bedford Avenue by North 7th Street since 1997.
Construction that began on the Bedford Avenue station months ago has shut down a stretch of North 7th Street to traffic and has taken over parts of the sidewalks on Bedford and Driggs avenues, making it difficult for customers to get to the pizzeria and neighboring businesses.
"They can't see the place. People get discouraged very easy," Acosta said. "When they see something is difficult for them they just don't come to the area."
His concerns were echoed by other business owners in the area.
"Less foot traffic for sure," said Christina Hicks, who works next door to the pizzeria at Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, whose storefront has also been blocked by construction.
"Because of the construction and because of the way that it's gated off, people just, you know, they're walking straight forward," Hicks said. "They aren't looking to their right or their left. They just want to get away from the loud noise."
Elaine Brodsky, the chair of the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, has seen vacancies around the subway construction stop go up. She said she fears the situation will only get tougher when the train shuts down in April for 15 months.
"Bedford Avenue and North 7th corridor is impossible—you can't drive down that street, it's very difficult to walk there," Brodsky said. "It's impacting the businesses that are there."
For now, businesses are bracing for the worst and hoping the loyalty of their customers will help them survive.
"When the construction is over, it will be breath of fresh air for sure," Hicks said.
This weekend local businesses and residents will get a taste of what's to come with the shutdown. The MTA said L train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 15 weekends between now and March for what the agency calls proactive maintenance and prep work.