Six weekends of 7 line closures into Queensboro Plaza

7 line suspended between 34th St.-Hudson Yards and Queensboro Plaza on select weekends beginning in February

By Alicia Venter

Queensboro Plaza South Side Rendering. Photo: MTA

Seven train line service will be suspended between 34th St.-Hudson Yards and Queensboro Plaza for six weeks, with the first of these closures beginning Saturday, Feb. 4.

During these weekends, the MTA will be constructing two elevators at Queensboro Plaza in an effort to make the station fully accessible.

The service change for the first weekend is scheduled to be in effect from 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 until 5:00 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6.

The following weekends will have service changes beginning at 3:45 a.m. on Saturday to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday:

  • Feb. 11 – Feb. 12
  • Feb. 25 – Feb. 26
  • Mar. 11 – Mar. 12
  • Mar. 25 – Mar. 26
  • Apr. 22 – Apr. 23

Free shuttle buses will be provided between Queensboro Plaza and Vernon Blvd – Jackson Av, as well as between Times Square and 34 St-Hudson Yards.

Construction at Queensboro Plaza includes an elevator at the southern entrance of the station and an elevator between the mezzanine and the two platforms.

The mezzanine is expected to receive new lighting and be expanded by approximately 50 square feet. There will also be updates to the pedestrian bridge.

To make the station fully accessible, the project will consist of new boarding areas compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with new platform edges and upgrades to existing street and station stairs to current ADA standards.

“The improvements coming to Queensboro Plaza will greatly benefit tens of thousands of riders,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey in a statement. “Accessibility is such an integral part of mass transit, especially for a city like New York where mass transit is essential for many. When complete, the project will provide critical accessibility upgrades, security updates, and customer experience improvements throughout the station.”

The MTA describes the planned work on Queensboro Plaza as a “complex construction project” in a press release due to the rapidly growing, densely populated neighborhood.

According to the MTA, Queensboro Plaza served approximately 70,000 rides on average every weekday in November 2022, and work will be required over the 11-lane wide approach to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, including two bike lanes.

“Building in dense urban environments, with infrastructure that dates back more than 100 years, is complex and challenging,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer in the press release. “But making our system accessible is essential and so we are finding creative ways to meet that challenge. Queensboro Plaza is a perfect example, taking advantage of private investment to maximize the benefit for riders while minimizing cost to the MTA.”

The project for building an accessible entrance on the south side of Queensboro Plaza is expected to be completed by mid-2024, and is budgeted for $74 million. There will also be upgrades made to the fire alarm system, installation of a new security camera system, a new public address system and digital information screens.

The north side’s entrance is also set to become an accessible entrance, done so through the Zoning for Accessibility (ZFA) program. This entrance is anticipated to be completed by 2025, and will be financed by the developer of 25-01 Queens Plaza North under the ZFA transit improvement bonus program. This is expected to save the MTA millions of dollars in construction and maintenance costs.

ZFA enables developers, in exchange for an increase in their building’s density, to improve access to public transit in the busiest areas of the city.  To learn more about the program, visit

The MTA also announced that there will be weekend service changes on the N line in May.

Additional weekend service changes are expected throughout the year and in 2024.

New York Junior Tennis & Learning Celebrates 50th Anniversary

By Bahar Ostadan

Young children have a blast with NYJTL. (Photo Credit: NYJTL)

A squad of tiny zombies stumbled across the playground at I.S. 204 at 28th Street and 36th Avenue in Long Island City this past Friday morning.

Arms out, huffing under the July sun, the 10-year-olds cycled through tennis warm-ups.

These young players are just a few of the 85,000 that New York Junior Tennis & Learning serves (pun intended) every year.

As the largest nonprofit tennis program in the country, NYJTL offers community and after school tennis classes in all five boroughs for free.

Long Island City site director, Giovanny Ramos, grew up as a student in the program himself.

After a few labored lunges, the kids teamed up on either side of the net. Six on six, The Average Joe’s versus Team Star.

“The rules are easy!” Ramos yelled. “The ball cannot stop, nor can it roll.”

Just as the players settled into position, gripping rackets twice the size of their heads, Ramos lowered his voice for one last detail, “Remember, we want the ball to go over the net.”

NYJTL was co-founded in 1971 by Arthur Ashe, the first and only Black man to win the U.S. Open and Black American man to win a Grand Slam title.

“Our idea is to use tennis as a way to gain and hold the attention of young people in the inner cities and other poor environments so that we can teach them about matters more important than tennis,” Ashe is quoted on NYJTL’s website. 

“[Ashe] was an incredible example of access to opportunity and perseverance,” said Udai Tambar, president of NYJTL. “We’re trying to make sure that DNA of the organization continues on.”

“By low-income communities of color, tennis is seen as inaccessible,” he continued. “Like, this is a country club sport. This is not for us.”

Today, 83 percent of NYJTL’s students are Black, Asian, Latino or “other,” and come from families with an average household income of $37,500—a stark departure from the city’s private tennis programs that can cost over $1,000 per week.

NYJTL set up mini nets and painted court lines at 32 sites around the city this summer, often in school gyms or even cafeterias.

This year they trained 110 gym teachers across the city who now can teach tennis to their students in schools, where NYJTL provides balls and equipment.

A hallmark of the program is their 3 million hours of court time teaching and training each year.

“We’ll bring the tennis courts to you,” said Tambar. “We’re saying, you belong in this sport, and if you belong in this sport, you also belong in other spaces, which you think you are excluded from.”

Tambar, who grew up playing tennis in Queens, said he didn’t expect to be running a nonprofit one day, let alone one with a $20 million operating budget.

“I don’t think there are many Asian American or South Asian American CEOs of nonprofits,” said Tambar. “To feel comfortable in this role means that you have to be able to overcome discomfort in other places in life.”

In fact, he’s in the 2 percent of nonprofit CEOs who identify as Asian, according to 2017 data from the National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices.

“Playing tennis…it was part of the building blocks that prepared me for this current role,” he said.

At I.S. 204 that morning, parents lined the court, scattered among tiny backpacks and frozen water bottles.

A boy on Team Star, barely standing taller than the net, stared blankly at a ball spinning toward him.

Seconds later, Ramos leaped and yelled, “That’s 3-1 for The Average Joe’s!”

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