Brooklyn Boro

Rumored Clark Street station closure sparks call to action

May 21, 2019 Mary Frost
Shops line the arcade of the Clark Street subway station. Shopkeepers say they have heard nothing from NYC Transit about the plans to close the station for a prolonged period, and worry they could go out of business without commuter traffic. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
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The Brooklyn Heights Association has sent a “Call to Action” to its members, asking them to demand that the Clark Street subway station remain open while the station’s elevators are being replaced.

Any shutdown is still a rumor — but one that MTA refuses to confirm or deny, feeding the worry of local commuters and the business owners in the station’s arcade.

The Clark Street subway station serves the 2 and 3 lines.

“MTA is considering closing the Clark Street subway station for an entire year while its three breakdown-prone elevators are replaced. We must persuade the MTA to change track,” BHA wrote in an email blast.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The Brooklyn Eagle broke the story of the rumored shutdown last month. Since then, MTA has remained mum, despite requests for more information from numerous stakeholders including the BHA, Borough President Eric Adams and, in a joint letter, State Sen. Brian Kavanagh, State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Councilmember Stephen Levin.

The Brooklyn Heights Association has issued a “Call to Action” to members on the potential closure of the Clark Street subway station. Image courtesy of BHA
The Brooklyn Heights Association has issued a “Call to Action” to members on the potential closure of the Clark Street subway station. Image courtesy of BHA

Transit workers leaked the rumored shutdown to business owners within the station, who leaked it to customers. If it’s true, some of the shops might have to fold. Many of them have operated out of the arcade at the St. George Tower at the corner of Henry and Clark streets for decades.

It’s the not knowing that has business owners on edge.

“They didn’t tell us anything,” Fernando Castano told the Eagle in April. Castano has worked for a shoe repair shop in the arcade, Brooklyn Heights Shoe Master, for more than 18 years.

“Without the train it’s pretty much done,” said Andrew Sabba, owner and operator of the coffee shop Cafécito To Go. “I just started this business over a month ago. They gave me no indication.”

Also in the arcade are a hair salon (The Cutting Den, in operation for more than 90 years), plus a newsstand, market and sushi restaurant. The businesses pay rent to St. George Associates.

In its call to action, BHA says it is “deeply concerned” that the MTA has not communicated with the community and plans to reach out to potential contractors (through the Request for Proposal process) without “an open discussion of the alternatives.”

MTA told the Brooklyn Heights Association that the agency will issue an RFP concerning the elevators in July, award a contract later this summer and start the project early next year.

NYC’s amended 2019 budget shows the replacement of two hydraulic elevators at Clark Street at the cost of $15.1 million.

There are three elevators in operation at the station, one of the deepest in the subway system. A 10-story flight of stairs at Clark Street station is used only in emergencies.

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