Vallone Holds Mock Funeral For W, V Trains
The event, hosted by City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. was intended not only as a farewell to the subway lines, but also as a continued stand against the MTA. It brought many protesters to the station, most of whom were seniors who will be most affected by the cuts.
The Straphangers Campaign’s Gene Russianoff and Assembly Candidate Aravella Simotas, who voiced their opposition to the MTA’s budget cuts and educated the attendees on their effects, joined Vallone.
“Like most funerals,” Vallone began, “this is both an end and a beginning. A beginning of longer waits, crowded stations and worse service.”
The supporters insisted that the “death” of the trains was not accidental. Vallone listed ways the MTA could have avoided them, such as not giving four percent raises in a struggling economy, and accused Albany for taking the money from the MTA in the first place.
“The loss of the W and V trains is a huge blow to the citizens of Western Queens, however, I applaud Councilmember Vallone for standing up to powerful interests and fighting the MTA,” Chairman of Astorians for Responsible Government Michael Camarinos said.
Without the W train, the N will be running on a local schedule in Manhattan, causing more delays for those rushing to work. According to Vallone the area, which suffered a nine-day blackout several years ago due to the unexpected population growth, continues to grow in popularity and needs more trains than ever.
“As with every funeral it’s the living that are really affected,” Russianoff said.
Vallone reminded the attendees that the funeral was the third, but not final, stand against the cuts. Though the removal of the two lines can no longer be prevented, residents and elected officials alike will continue to fight, this time to bring the trains back.
Only a few months ago, rallies were held to oppose the elimination of student MetroCards. Vallone called the threat to eliminate the cards a “smokescreen” for the current cuts. “We knew they wouldn’t hurt our children, but we stopped them,” he said
“Then, all of a sudden, right above our heads, trains are dying.”
Simotas compared the MTA to “an outof control train that’s clearly off-track”.
Supporters from the local Senior Center began and ended the funeral with a chant of “Ho ho, hey hey, the W’s gotta stay.” They brandished cardboard tombstones for the trains with epitaphs such as “The W has gone away, for slower service we will pay!”
Later that evening the Manhattan Young Democrats, Queens County Young Democrats, Long Island City Alliance, the Powhatan Democratic Club and Queens Drinking Liberally rode on the last car of the W train which departed Times Square Station at 7:30 p.m. and arrived at the Astoria Boulevard station at 8:15 p.m. for a rally memorializing the passing of the W/V train lines and calling on Albany and the MTA to do better by their communities.
“These cuts will literally affect every part of the city and are largely the result of years of fiscal incompetence in Albany,” Transportation Issues Committee Chair of Manhattan Young Democrats Matt Moran said.