You Ain’t Going Nowhere, Asshole

All hail the MTA!

By Jim Knipfel

There’s no denying the century-old NYC subway system needs some serious work. The piecemeal, stop-gap, jerry-rig jobs they’ve been doing over the decades to fix burned-out lights, broken tracks, and three inches of accumulated pigeon shit just weren’t cutting it anymore. Still, it’s hard not to detect a whiff of the deliberately, gleefully diabolical in a plan that went into effect this past Monday.

A few weeks back, Gov. Cuomo announced that over the next four years, some thirty stations would be closed intermittently for major renovations. That was fine. But then with very little forewarning the MTA made the surprise announcement that nine stations along the N line, essentially the entire tail end of the line extending from Sunset Park through Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights out to Coney, would lose Manhattan-bound service for the next 14 months. No one was expecting them to say that. Just to make things worse, when that work was finished, they’d just switch sides and put an end to Coney Island-bound service at those same stations for the subsequent 14 months. In other words, for roughly the next  two and a half years, southeastern Brooklyn is going to be for the most part cut off from the rest of the city, except for those losers who want to take, y’know, the bus.

Far more hilarious was the announcement that the same day Manhattan-bound N service was going the way of the dodo for a spell, the MTA would also be shutting down the L line altogether until March of 2017 so they could finally fix the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Okay, the disruption to the N line is more an annoyance than anything. The last stop on the line, Stillwell Avenue, will remain open the whole while, meaning for the next two and a half years straphangers will simply need to add another 45 minutes’ worth of doubling back onto their commute. And to be honest, ridership over there is light anyway, given service is so far-flung and spotty as it is most residents just drive. But that L line business is another story.

For those who don’t live here, the L train is the Hipster Aorta, or these days the Would-Be-Hipster Aorta, the single direct mass transit connection between hipster-central Williamsburg in Brooklyn and the Godfather of Manhattan hipsterdom, the East Village. My god, what are they gonna do? There’s been a lot of panicky tugging of soul patches and clutching at those stupid little Sinatra hats as the young cool cats and finger-poppin’ chicks try to figure out how they’ll maintain access to all the little clubs and hep espresso joints and poetry readings and used record shops the EV has to offer. I mean, without all those places to see and be seen, they might as well just stay in the squat and die!

That’s how the local media seems to be playing it anyway. Truth be told, these days the East Village is merely an extension of the NYU campus and SoHo both, populated with thick-necked stupid ass business admin undergrads and fat tourists swinging massive shopping bags from designer chain stores. And though Williamsburg’s wide-open warehouse space and cheap rents attracted a slew of struggling artists 25 years ago, these days it’s mostly home to high-end developers and fashionably-dressed young trust fund fuckers who might play-act at living in a clean and comfortable “squat” for a couple weeks before putting a down payment on that condo they’ve had their eye on, or just moving to Park Slope. There hasn’t been an honest-to-goodness bona fide hipster in the East Village or Williamsburg for over a decade now, except in the minds of the media and the blinkered assholes who live there. It’s all fuckers. If they’re panicking about not being able to easily get to the East Village, it’s probably because they’re afraid they might miss a sale at the Gap.

So you know what? I don’t care what sort of diabolical scheme the MTA had in mind, my hat’s off to them. You cut off the fuckers, keep them corralled over there far away from the rest of us, and I’m all for it. Maybe we’ll all get lucky and the creeping sense of isolation will spark them to turn on each other, resulting in a hugely entertaining cannibalistic bloodbath.

Wait, what was I saying about subway renovations again?

Published January 21st, 2016

Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.