12 Jul 2009 8:49 pm   //   Filed under: Brooklyn, Transit

G force


Everybody in New York has a different favorite train, but everyone has the same least-favorite: The G. Short, slow, infrequent, and weird, the G Train seems unworthy of New York. It goes through some rough or obscure places, and makes stops on streets you’ve never heard of unless you live there, like Classon Avenue. The G’s lazy, L-shaped route from Brooklyn to Queens makes it the only line in the whole system that never stops in Manhattan. This train is hard to love.

But nobody hates the G more than Park Slopers. Only we understand the frustration of standing in a packed F train at the end of a hard day, three stops from home, waiting for a G ahead of us turn around. Can’t they clear that train a little faster! We’ve got takeout and craft beer waiting in the fridge!

Some of the best stories happen when a group of established characters have to react to a sudden change in their environment. A week ago, the MTA extended the G route by five stops in Brooklyn. Like an unwanted kitten left on our doorstop, we in Park Slope have to claim the G as our own. We’re no longer an F neighborhood. We’re a F/G neighborhood. How are we supposed to react to this?

(The change is to accommodate repair work on the Culver Viaduct, which is expected to take four years. The G used to turn around on the middle tracks of the viaduct, which are now blocked. The next closest crossover is at Church Avenue.)

Parents in Park Slope are fond of dressing their toddlers in T-shirts with the F symbol on it. Is there going to be a run on G shirts? What kind of kid wears a G shirt?

Because of the change, Slope residents now have a one-seat ride to Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Long Island City—neighborhoods filled with our friends, but places we view with slight suspicion. (How’s your kickball league going? Um-hm.) Psychologically, we’re now much closer to them, since we share a train. Is this good or bad?

The new G route is so new it isn’t on the maps yet. It will take people a few weeks to get used to it, and understand what it means. Is this a faster way to get to BAM? Is there any way that connection to the R could be useful? Hmm.

How can we hate a train that stops at our stop? We can’t. Of course, we will grow to love the G. Everyone who moves to our ever-changing neighborhood will assume the G has always been there. A few years from now, when the MTA is finished with the viaduct work, they might decide to take the G away. I bet people will fight hard, at that point, to save the train they once hated. It’s 2014: Save the G!