Diane is the owner of t.b.d. Brooklyn, a friendly neighborhood bar located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
How have changes in the neighborhood impacted your business and the need for transit options?
“When we first opened nine years ago, Greenpoint was a very different neighborhood. It was mostly artists and freelancers and bartenders and waiters and waitresses. It wasn’t the hot neighborhood it is now.
“Our bartenders come from all over the city. We have one that comes in from Bay Ridge. Another that just moved to Long Island City. And we have Gary who comes in from Astoria. Long commute times takes a toll on my employees and it’s a challenge. They don’t want to pick up a slow shift because it’s not worth their time to come all the way here, sit around for a slow shift and then commute an hour back. And it means that they’re not here in a pinch.
“Often times everything can be fine and good then 50 people will walk through the door and we wouldn’t have enough coverage. That’s a problem fairly unique to a venue of this size because people will show up unexpectedly with a huge party and be like, ‘hey it’s my 30th birthday, I’m bringing in thirty people to celebrate!’ That’s great but if I’m not staffed for it, it would be hard. In a pinch we need to send out an SOS but that SOS falls on deaf ears if you’re out in Bay Ridge or Astoria and would take an hour to get here.”
What is appealing about the BQX streetcar?
“From my view point, it would be very valuable to have additional ways for people to access my business. The Brooklyn Queens Connector would bring more exposure to Greenpoint. Most bar’s loyal customers come from two to three blocks away. But we’re in a unique situation because we have a huge inside space and a massive outdoor space that can accommodate a lot more people. Customers come in from all over the city for private parties and big events and have to find a way to get here. People have friends in Manhattan and Queens, so from an economic standpoint, we would be a lot more appealing if there were easier access to get here.”
Where will you take the BQX?
“I love Red Hook and I would hang out there more if it were more accessible to get to. From Greenpoint, getting back and forth would be at least an hour, hour and a half each way. The BQX would be less than 30 minutes to get there. Plus, you get to see when the next train is coming!
“This week I’m headed down to Red Hook to meet with a vendor who’s interested in becoming a preferred caterer for our events. If I take public transportation, I can take the fun way and hop on the ferry to the water taxi but that’s a great deal of time and has to be very precise. You don’t want to get stuck on the Wall Street pier! It’s a fun ride but it’s time consuming. It means that I would have to literally set aside a whole day just to go to Red hook.”
Why do you support expanding transit options in New York?
“Greenpoint is fairly isolated with limited transportation options. We do have the ferry now and it’s convenient, but it runs less frequently on weekends which is when I need to have transportation in and out.
“They just introduced a new bus line – the B32 – that runs between South Williamsburg and Long Island City. It connects the JMZ line to Queens. The bus has been really valuable to moving people from point A to point B, but the BQX is another great opportunity to expand our transit options.”
“Thousands of people are going to be living on the corridor. The ferry and G train wouldn’t be enough to supplement that growth.”
What have you heard about the pushback against the BQX?
“I was always confused about the pushback. I never understood why people don’t want to investigate new transportation opportunities. New developments along the waterfront are popping up and bringing thousands of additional units. A 40-story building is going up at the end of India Street. Thousands of people are going to be living on the corridor. The ferry and G train wouldn’t be enough to supplement that growth.
“We have to invest and explore new transit options to alleviate the demand. Of course, someone is going to come along and offer a solution to get back and forth from Greenpoint. It was inevitable that something was something would have to be introduced. I didn’t know what it was but I’m glad that it’s something as a modern as the BQX.”
– Diane F., Greenpoint