walk it off

Wrong Gear: Hudson Yards Escalators Go Down for Auto Show

An escalator was broken at the Hudson Yards station.
A broken escalator at the Hudson Yards station on Monday, April 22. Photo: Jose Martinez /THE CITY

When it comes to the MTA, what goes up must break down.

Take six of the 16 escalators at the 34th Street Hudson Yards, which on Monday were out of service at various times — on one of the busiest days of the year for the sprawling subway station. The escalators went down on the first weekday since weekly and monthly MetroCard prices went up.

“Typical New York City,” fumed Usman Chohan, who took the 7 train from Queens to check out the New York International Auto Show at the nearby Javits Center. “This is new, it should be working. But it’s so New York that even something new is messed up.”

As THE CITY reported last month, three of the station’s escalators were among the 10 least reliable subway escalators in Manhattan in the last quarter of 2018.

The 16 escalators have shown improvement through this year’s first three months — with all but one now sporting 24-hour availability rates higher than 90 percent, according to the MTA’s latest numbers.

That’s up from when three of them were out of service for more than 20 percent of the time in the last three months of 2018.

But with big crowds pouring into the three-year-old station for the auto show, several of the escalators came up lame — including a pair of the longest in the subway system.

“Three experienced momentary outages [Monday] when safety mechanisms that are set to very sensitive levels in order to keep people safe needed to be reset,” said MTA spokesman Shams Tarek. “Three other escalators are out for repairs and are expected to be back online by the end of the day [Tuesday].”

126 Steps Between Levels

While one of those out-of-service machines was sealed off by black and yellow barriers, the other was not — leaving it open to anyone willing to take the 126-step trek between the station’s mezzanines.

The $2.4 billion station is a key 7 train link to the Javits Center and Hudson Yards, a gleaming $25 billion retail and residential complex that opened in March.

“You have all this new business coming in around here, so this station is important,” said Esther Martinez, 48, of Queens, who commutes in and out of the station daily. “But if the fares keep going up, the escalators should, too.”

The Hudson Yards 7 train station, April 22, 2019.
The Hudson Yards 7 train station, April 22, 2019. Photo: Jose Martinez /THE CITY

“That doesn’t look good when something so new isn’t working,” said Juan Franco, 35, of Queens.

The advocacy group TransitCenter said the escalator issues point to bigger issues at the MTA.

“The Authority doesn’t have the manpower to respond every time crap stops up an escalator,” said Colin Wright, a senior advocacy associate at TransitCenter. “The MTA needs to raise mechanics’ wages and working conditions in order to attract and retain talent.”

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