Governor Kathy Hochul visited two sites in Hell’s Kitchen this weekend to laud as “heroes” MTA workers who kept the city moving in Friday’s record-breaking rain.
Gov Hochul took time on Saturday to first visit the MTA’s Rail Control Center on 354 W54th Street between 8/9th Avenue and then headed over to the Michael J Quill Bus Depot, located at W40th Street and 11th Avenue. She praised the workers for their prompt actions on the streets and at their Rail Control Center. Walking into the staff canteen at the bus depot, she waved her hands in the air and said: “The heroes are here!”. One worker responded to the Governor, saying: “We gotta do what we gotta do to move the city.”
Flash flooding began overnight Thursday into Friday when a severe storm hit New York City, producing over seven inches of rain and leading the Governor to declare a State of Emergency. Subway travel came to a standstill, roads were closed and air travel was heavily delayed.
“There are some New Yorkers who’ve never seen the likes of which we experienced yesterday in their entire lives. This event was historic. In some areas, it was record-shattering. It is the most rain ever recorded in a single day at JFK Airport. Ever! Not just this summer, not this year, but ever,” said Hochul.
During a storm update press conference with MTA boss Janno Lieber at the W54th St Center, Hochul said: “Welcome to the MTA nerve center. This is the place where it all happens. I came here with a heart full of gratitude for the individuals who literally had to risk it all to show up to their jobs and to keep our city running. When the trains and buses of the MTA stop, the city stops – full stop.”
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She added: “It is so essential that we keep these services going, because people depend on it. I just walked through the control center and had the chance to talk to scores of people who had the same commuting challenges as everybody else in New York does – but they showed up, they stayed around the clock. They consumed a lot of coffee and pizzas, but they got the job done.”
Lieber told the Governor during a tour of the W54th St Control Center: “Our workforce turns up. That’s one of the things we are proudest of.”
Lieber and Hochul toured the 11th Avenue bus depot. Lieber said: “Our amazing bus operators kept more than 3,000 buses moving New Yorkers through the storm and, despite the deluge, subway workers were able to maintain significant operations and to quickly restore full service. I’m thankful that commuter rail riders were able to get home.”
Hochul was full of praise for the response of the bus drivers at the height of the storm: “These brave bus drivers gave a lifeline to people who otherwise would have been stranded. They were the true heroes, driving into water not knowing what was on the other side, know they had to get people to their next destination safely – and they did an extraordinary job. During record rainfall, 99 percent of the buses did their jobs,” she said.