Escalator snags, praise on Grand Central Madison's 2nd day
Jesse Pardo, of Lynbrook, was “just about halfway” up an escalator at Grand Central Madison Thursday morning when it stopped. An adjacent upward escalator conked out as well, Pardo said.
“I was like, ‘Both at the same time? Come on, now. You can’t be serious,’” said Pardo, who had little choice but to “just keep going up. It just is what it is.”
Day Two of the Long Island Rail Road’s new service to Manhattan’s East Side came with more praise for Grand Central Madison, the new hub for LIRR riders beneath Grand Central Station, but also some early gripes from riders.
Just minutes into the second day of the “Grand Central Direct” shuttle between Jamaica and the new station, some riders took to social media to point out that two upward escalators — the longest in the entire transit system — were not operating.
“Escalator I was on at grand central literally stopped working halfway as I was on it,” Twitter user @kuhreenz posted at 6:46 a.m.
It was unclear how long the escalators were down, but MTA officials said all 3,094 feet of escalators between the mezzanine and concourse levels were operating as of 3:30 p.m.
Asked for more information about the outage, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said, “A new 714,000-square-foot building will require maintenance, which is why a team of mechanics is on site to address any issues." On opening day, an escalator was also temporarily shut down, which a spokesman blamed on "unruly teenagers."
Pardo said, overall, commuting to Grand Central has been a “breath of fresh air” since the station opened Wednesday. One “nitpicky” complaint: inadequate signage to navigate to the LIRR concourse from the Grand Central entrance at 47th Street and Madison Avenue.
Others had similar wayfinding issues. Bethpage commuter Carolyne Amengual said she “couldn’t find” the entrance to the station from 48th and Madison — a street level elevator. She would also like to see more vendors along the sprawling new concourse.
“My overall experience was great,” said Amengual, who traveled to and from Grand Central on Wednesday, and expects to do so again Friday. “Not having to take a subway to Penn is so worth the aggravation.”
Daniel Cuthbert, of Manhattan, had a different issue with the new escalators at Grand Central Madison: the “pedantic and paternalistic” audio announcements, including those telling riders to face forward.
“If such announcements are even necessary, then they could be achieved through a more universal sign at the start of the escalators, rather than through noise pollution,” Cuthbert, 47, said.
The LIRR’s other Manhattan hub, Penn Station, also unveiled some new upgrades Thursday — a new, fully accessible street entrance at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue. It includes three new elevators serving the 1, 2, and 3 subway lines, and one serving the LIRR’s concourse at the station. It also features a 14-foot tall glass mosaic art installation inspired by the clock that once hung at the original Pennsylvania Station.
“While we had a very mighty opening yesterday,” MTA New York City Transit President Richard Davey said, “to me, this is just as important for thousands of customers who are going to use our system.”