N.Y. Today: Think the L Train Disruption Has Nothing to Do With You? Think Again. – The New York Times

New York Today

Weather: Powerful winds that can blow down trees and power lines are sweeping through New York City and the suburbs, weather officials said. The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning that is in effect until 6 p.m.

Winds as fast as 60 miles per hour may be felt around the region.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until March 6 (Ash Wednesday).

The M.T.A. will be upgrading switch equipment on numerous lines.

CreditKevin Hagen for The New York Times

Commuters who rely on the L train will soon have fewer options on nights and weekends.

Similar disruptions may come to other subway lines before long.

As my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons writes, the plan to run fewer L trains on nights and weekends to allow for repairs to the line’s tunnel is “in many ways a preview of what lies ahead for the rest of the system.”

The subway system’s chief executive, Andy Byford, has said that the only way to improve service is to shut down swaths of the system to overhaul old equipment, including signals.

So, what’s the plan for the L train?

Starting the weekend of April 27, fewer trains will run after 8 p.m. on weeknights; weekend service, which has sometimes been shut down while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority prepares for the overhaul, will operate with 20-minute gaps between trains.

The M.T.A., which runs the system, said it would provide enhanced service on the M, G and 7 lines, as well as additional M14A buses and a new “Williamsburg Link” bus.

The disruption is expected to last about 15 months.

Why are disruptions necessary?

Workers need to repair the L-train tunnel that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

On other train lines, workers will upgrade the signal systems. Signals are sort of like traffic lights; the better the signals, the M.T.A. said, the greater number of trains it can run.

So, how do these upgrades get made?


Mr. Byford has a $40 billion plan that calls for installing modern signals on several lines. (State lawmakers have yet to give him the money to do it.) He wants to expand night and weekend closings in the coming years to accommodate the installations.

Some subway lines could see disruptions for more than two years.

Have any signal upgrades already been made?

So far, only the L and 7 trains have new signals, and those installations took longer than expected.

What lines are next?

Work is being done in phases. It has started on the Queens Boulevard line (the E, F, M and R trains) .

The F train in Brooklyn and the 8th Avenue line (the A, C and E trains) in Manhattan will be upgraded next. Work on the Lexington Avenue line (the 4, 5 and 6 trains) could start next year.

The full list of lines that could be affected is on Page 25 of the subway’s Fast Forward plan.

The Times’s Luis Ferré-Sadurní reports:

Last month, New York City struck a deal with the federal government to address the dismal conditions in the city’s 176,000 public housing apartments.

The agreement called for a powerful independent monitor to oversee repairs and reforms at the embattled New York City Housing Authority.

On Friday, the federal government finally announced its appointment: Bart Schwartz, who ran the criminal division of the Southern District of New York when Rudolph W. Giuliani was the United States attorney in the 1980s.

Mr. Schwartz, now chairman of the investigations and compliance firm Guidepost Solutions, monitored Deutsche Bank after its involvement in fraudulent tax shelters, and General Motors after an investigation into lethal defects in its ignition switches.

“I look forward to working to achieve living conditions for Nycha residents that are decent, safe and sanitary,” Mr. Schwartz said in a statement, referring to the city’s housing authority.

An apartment in TriBeCa that was advertised on Airbnb. It was listed for $600 a night.CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times

• Airbnb scheme: More than 100 Airbnb host accounts and 18 corporations were created to run an illegal hotel business in Manhattan, according to a lawsuit brought by the city.

• Victory against wage theft: 106 workers who sued a Manhattan-based carwash company are expected to split $8.5 million.

• Sunday routine: The night life queen Susanne Bartsch combined four apartments in the Chelsea Hotel and “turned the bathrooms into closets.”

• De-Trumped: The last two buildings in a group of Upper West Side apartment towers that once bore the president’s name voted to remove it.

• About Amazon: Governor Cuomo called the deal’s collapse “the greatest tragedy” for New York, and he put the blame on State Senate Democrats.

• From The Daily: “It was probably the most shocking call I’ve gotten in my journalistic life,” The Times’s J. David Goodman said about learning that Amazon was canceling its plan to build a headquarters in Queens.

[Want more news from New York and around the region? Check out our full coverage.]

The mini crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

• 2020: Senator Bernie Sanders’s first presidential campaign rally will be at Brooklyn College on Saturday. [BKLYNER]

• History: A church in Chelsea commemorated the 77th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing an executive order that led to the internment of Japanese-Americans. [amNew York]

• Labor: State officials are visiting a shelter for homeless mothers in East New York to help train them for job searches. [Daily News]

• Food: It’s a long wait to get Japanese soufflé pancakes in Chinatown. [Gothamist]

Get your morning coffee with your little one in tow at Babies & Brew, at the Tottenville library branch on Staten Island. 10 a.m. [Free]

In celebration of her book “Thick and Other Essays,” Tressie McMillan Cottom will be in conversation with the author Morgan Jerkins at the Brooklyn Historical Society. 6:30 p.m. [$10]

Fans of the Bard: Head to the Julia De Burgos Performance and Arts Center in East Harlem for a night of theater dedicated to black Shakespearean actors. 7 p.m. [Free]

— Iman Stevenson

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

Sujatha Gidla found time to write her book during her commute.CreditSonny Figueroa/The New York Times

How did a busy subway conductor find time to write this book?

Sujatha Gidla described her methods in an interview recently published on Medium.

She began writing her 2017 memoir, “Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India,” when she worked at a bank. Desk. Cubicle. Banker’s hours. Not impossible to crank out a book.

Then she got laid off and landed a job as a subway conductor. The desk and cubicle were gone, but that book wasn’t going to write itself.

Here are some tips on how she got it done:

Work at the office.

She had to transcribe family interviews. “I finished my work at the bank around 6 p.m., I would stay at my cubicle and transcribe the tapes until 10 p.m.”

Don’t wait till you get home.

“I could never work on the book when I was at home,” she said. To write, “There has to be no other form of entertainment available.”

No desk? No problem. Write where you can.

Ms. Gidla wrote during her “commute, coming and going from work.”

You don’t need a creative job to write a book.

Ms. Gidla said a subway conductor is “a very mechanical job. I would do the job and let my mind figure out, ‘Maybe I can write the opening of the chapter in a different way?’”

— Melissa Guerrero contributed to this item.

It’s Monday: Work on your masterpiece.

Dear Diary:

It was late afternoon on a rainy Saturday, and I had dashed out to do a few errands.

Making my way along Nassau Street, I put my hand in my pocket and found an envelope I had forgotten to mail.

I looked around for a mailbox, hoping to find one that still had pickup that day. Just then, I saw a mail carrier coming toward me pushing her bag.

I smiled at her, envelope in hand. She grinned, nodded and extended her hand.

My envelope was on its way.

— Maryanne P. Braverman

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