HUNTERS POINT — The MTA says it's willing to develop an advertising campaign to market Long Island City to help offset the effects of weekend service cuts scheduled to take place on the 7 train over the next several months.
But the agency said it will not run a shuttle between Long Island City and the east side of Manhattan, something elected officials and neighborhood leaders have been strongly pushing for
Elected officials and local leaders have slammed the MTA for scheduling maintenance work that would cut service on the 7 train between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square for 13 weekends between the end of February and July, saying the absence of the train line will devastate businesses in Hunters Point.
After a meeting between the MTA and Queens officials on Thursday, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency is willing to run ads marketing neighborhood, one of several demands the local community had asked for to help mitigate the effects of the service shutdowns.
"Marketing — that is something we certainly plan on doing," Ortiz said, saying they'll ask the local business community to help them "develop a robust marketing campaign, something along the lines of 'Long Island City is open for business.'"
The ads — which would advertise the neighborhood collectively, not individual businesses — could appear on posters and brochures in subway stations in Queens and Manhattan as well as on the MTA's digital On-The-Go kiosks, or on the back of MetroCards, Ortiz said.
He did not have immediate details on when the marketing campaign would be launched.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris said he has repeatedly requested bus service that would take riders in Hunters Point directly into Manhattan via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. Ortiz said such a service was "not a viable alternative," for the MTA.
"We're far away from getting some of our requests met," said Gianaris, who attended Thursday's meeting with MTA officials and called it a "baby step forward."
"There will be a continued dialogue," he said. "We'll keep working on it."
Officials had also asked that the MTA subsidize the cost of a ride on the East River Ferry for Long Island City commuters — covering the difference between the $4 ferry ride and the $2.50 subway ride.
Ortiz said that request would have to be taken up with the city and the Economic Development Corp., which oversees the ferry service.