Seek Alternate Routes to Queens Gay Pride Parade With 7 Train Out
JACKSON HEIGHTS — The Queens Pride Parade and Festival hits the neighborhood this Sunday, but revelers will have to find an alternate route to get there with the 7 train shut down this weekend.
Service on the 7 will be suspended between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street from 2 a.m. Saturday until 4:30 a.m. Monday, officials said. The MTA said residents would have many alternatives to reach the 22nd annual parade, which kicks off at noon at 84th Street and 37th Avenue.
"There are still plenty of ways to get to Jackson Heights," said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA — including the E, F, and R trains that run to 74th Street, near the end of the parade route. The MTA will also run additional E trains, he said.
There will also be free shuttle buses will run over part of the 7 train's route instead, with one making stops between Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue and Queensboro Plaza and another running between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street-Broadway.
The limited service is the result of track work, including replacing old track panels, according to officials.
Planned 7 train work was canceled for May 17-18 to accomodate the LIC Arts Open Festival and LIC Springs! block party.
Local officials and residents had hoped the same would occur for the pride parade because "when the 7 isn't up and running, it hurts the community," said Councilman Danny Dromm, who helped organized the first Queens Pride parade.
"It's a discouragement for people to have to figure out a roundaabout way to get here," he said. "That discouragement usually means fewer people come."
More than 40,000 people came to last year's parade and festival, Dromm said, and hoped the MTA would schedule work on a weekend that isn't of "major importance" to the community.
"I think it will have a detrimental effect on Queens Pride, and that means a detrimental effect on the community."
Sue Yacka, 38, who runs the Tastoriaqueens blog, said she may just walk from her Astoria apartment to get to the parade, noting that the lack of subway service inconveniences people from across the city who are trying to get to Pride.
"It's going to be a beautiful day on Sunday, so it's a shame that some folks wont be able to as easily get to the parade — or they might give up if they see the 7 train isn't running," she said.
Limited access may also hurt "small businesses that also get a large influx of business on that day," she said.
This year's theme is "A World of Pride," and grand marshals include the LGBT Caucus of the City Council and Melissa Sklarz, the president of the Stonewall Democratic Club.
Marchers first organized the parade in 1993 to protest the murder of Julio Rivera and protest discrimination in local schools.
Parade organizers did not respond to requests for comment.