Starting tonight – Friday, September 16th – at 9:45 p.m., southbound F Trains will bypass Roosevelt Island while the MTA does some track maintenance. Regular service resumes on Monday at 5:00 a.m. In the meantime, we’ve got some options for you.
by David Stone
F Train Alternatives
Your best choice is actually the F Train itself. Because they’ll remain running into Queens, hop on in that direction and transfer at Roosevelt Avenue to any of several lines heading back toward Manhattan.
The big issue here, though, is the MTA’s mindlessness. Anyone needing an elevator, including many seniors and physically challenged Roosevelt Islanders, is out of luck because the Queens-bound elevator is still down. The MTA offers no options for this group.
Q102 MTA Bus
If you take a seat on a Q102 heading off the Island, a short ride arrives at Queens Plaza in 5 to 10 minutes. Here, again, you can transfer to one of several lines, including Es and Fs, running into Manhattan. Other bus lines too.
Always a good alternative to the F Train, a ferry in either direction gets you to Manhattan in two stops with a Queens interval. Northbound ferries terminate at 90th Street next to Carl Schurz Park and southbound rides head for 34th Street after a stop in Long Island City.
Standard fares are $4.00, but you can buy a 10-pack at the old price of $2.75 each. Be mindful, though, that they expire in 90 days, not after a year as before.
The Tram as an F Train Alternative
Almost everybody’s favorite is the Roosevelt Island Tram. Of course, it is. It runs frequently on a reliable schedule and gets you across the river fast. But there are a couple of issues.
The first is the grinding lack of OMNY access for the Tram. MetroCards remain your only option with no end in sight from bumbling RIOC and the demonic MTA. In short, the MTA rips off RIOC and Roosevelt Island to the tune of $1 million+ per year, and hapless RIOC hasn’t been able to get them to even talk about it for years.
The more passengers talk about it, the more frustrating it gets because government is supposed to work for us, not the other way around. But this is Roosevelt Island, after all, and we’ve got RIOC “working” for us.
The other issue is less frustrating. That is, during F Train shutdowns, dependence on the Tram can lead to long lines and wait times. Since we’re off the peak tourist season, that should be more manageable than over the summer.
Among these alternatives, one will suit you best, getting you where you need to go. The big thing is avoiding getting crossed up in the Friday night switch. Waiting for a 9:45 train that never comes can mess up a fun evening.
And this being New York, 9:45 is pretty early on a Friday night.