“L” SHUT DOWN IN FOCUS

Two filmmakers set out to give New Yorkers an inside look at the L train shutdown. Documenting the people who will be most affected and their fears, one of the men behind the lens joins us with an unfiltered preview.

Aired on July 13, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> NEW YORKERS ACROSS THE CITY ARE DREADING THE UPCOMING SHUTDOWN OF THE L TRAIN SET TO INCONVENIENCE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DAILY COMMUTERS FOR 15 LONG MONTHS.

THE MTA ANNOUNCED ADDITION OF SEVERAL ALTERNATIVE ROUTES.

MANY NEW YORKERS ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE DRAMATIC EFFECTS THAT THIS EXTENDED MAINTENANCE PROJECT WILL HAVE ON THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES.

ONE SUCH NEW YORKER IS EMIT ADLER, A FILM MAKER CURRENTLY WORKING ON A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE L TRAIN SHUT DOWDOWN AND TH PEOPLE MOST AFFECTED.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

SAFE TO SAY MOST NEW YORKERS KNOW THE L. TRAIN WILL BE SHUTTING DOWN FOR 15 LONG MONTHS AND PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THEM KNOW IT'S LIKELY TO BE A HUGE PAIN FOR ALL OF US.

SO WHAT WILL YOUR FILM SHOW THAT WE DON'T KNOW?

DO YOU HOPE TO CONVEY IN THE FILM?

WELL, I THINK THE FILM WILL SHOW SORT OF HOW OUR POLITICS WORK AROUND THE MTA AND GIVE SOME HISTORY ABOUT THE SUBWAYS AND HOW THEY HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS SORT OF STATE OF DISREPAIR THEY ARE IN NOW AND THEN, YOU KNOW, GIVE YOU SORT OF A FRONT ROW SEAT TO THE HUMAN IMPACTS OF BUSINESSES, RESIDENTS, COMMUTERS, CHILDREN WHO HAVE TO USE THE L TO GET TO SCHOOL, IT AFFECTS PEOPLE ACROSS EVERY AGE AND DEMOGRAPHIC.

YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE AN INTERESTING SHOOTING SCHEDULE FOR THE FILM.

YOU BEGIN SHOOTING IT IN 2016 THREE YEARS BEFORE THE SCHEDULE SHUT DOWN AND ACCORDING TO CURRENT PLANS, YOU'RE GOING TO FINISH SHOOTING MONTHS BEFORE THE SHUT DOWN AND YOU THINK THAT WOULD BE THE TIME WHERE MOST OF THE TRAMA AND MUCH OF THE DRAMA WOULD UNFOLD.

WHY THIS TIME?

FOR ONE THING, I WANTED TO GET IN EARLY WHEN I FIRST REALIZED THAT THE L TRAIN WAS GOING TO BE SHUTTING DOWN COUPLE YEARS AGO I REALIZED IT WAS GOING TO TAKE TIME TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP IN THE COMMUNITY TO GET THE ACCESS WE NEED FOR A FILM LIKE THIS AND I ALSO WANTED TO SEE THE BEFORE AND THE AFTER, YOU KNOW.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY, WHAT POLITICIANS SAY IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

WHAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW IS A LOT OF PLANNING FOR THE SHUTDOWN AND A LOT OF THE ANXIETY, THE NERVOUSNESS, BUSINESS OWNERS ARE NERVOUS AND RESIDERESIDENTS, OF COURSE.

I WANTED THE BEFORE AND AFTER.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY IS GOING TO HAPPEN AND WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS FOR PREPARATION?

WE HAVE OUT REACH AND GOING TO THE COMMUNITY AND INTERVIEWED THE PRESIDENT OF THE PTA AND PRESIDENT AT THOSE MEETINGS AND BEEN TRYING TO FOLLOW THOSE ARRIVAL AND HIS EFFORTS HERE IN NEW YORK AND WE SPOKE TO A LOT OF BUSINESS OWNERS, A LOT OF ACTIVISTS, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS, JUST KIND OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SORT OF ON THE FOREFRONT OF THIS ISSUE.

WHAT ARE THEY TELLING YOU?

PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY ARE REPRESENTING MOST OF THOSE AND THEY ARE FREAKING OUT.

SURPRISE.

AS YOU MIGHT IMAGINE, THEY ARE VERY CONCERNED, YOU KNOW, IT'S GOING TO AFFECT EVERYDAY LIVES.

SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE WELL, WE'LL JUST DEAL WITH IT AND THEY WILL AND I THINK THE MTA AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SORT OF INVOLVED IN TRYING TO MAKE THIS SITUATION GO OVER SMOOTHLY ALSO REALIZED THIS IS AN UNPRECEDENTED DISRUPTION AND.

ARE THEY FREAKING OUT.

A LITTLE BIT.

THE REASON I ASK IS I JUST RECENTLY SPOKE TO A TRANSPORT EXPORT IN NEW YORK CITY AND ASK HIM HOW COME ELECTED OFFICIALS SEEM SO ALLOWED TO ALLOW THE SUBWAY TO COLLAPSE?

HE SAID BECAUSE THEY DON'T RIDE THE SUBWAY.

I WONDER IF OFFICIALS INVOLVED IN THE L TRAIN RIDE IT.

I DON'T KNOW IF THEY RIDE IT BUT THE PRESIDENT OF IT CAME IN IN JANUARY AND HE SEEMS TO BE, YOU KNOW, TRYING TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO RIDE THE TRAINS WITH THE PEOPLE AND SEEMS LIKE A MAN OF THE PEOPLE SO FAR.

SO I WOULDN'T, YOU KNOW, HOLD HIM AT FAULT FOR NOT UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUE AND THE REASON THE SUBWAYS HAVE DECLINED IN LARGE PART IS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THE MTA OFFICIALS DON'T WRITE THE CHECKS.

THEY DON'T ALLOCATE THE FUNDS AND SO IN MANY CASES, THEY DON'T HAVE RESOURCES.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE L TRAIN SHUT DOWN, YOU THINK ABOUT THE INCONVENIENCE TO THE COMMUTERS PRIMARILY.

THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO BE HURT THE MOST PROBABLY ARE THE BUSINESSES ON THE L TRAIN ROUTE AND YOU'VE TALKED TO THEM.

TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE SAYING TO YOU.

YEAH, I MEAN --

HOW WILL THEY COPE?

YEAH, THEY DON'T KNOW.

THEY SAY THE L TRAIN IS THEIR MONEY TRAIN AND WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO WITH THESE, YOU KNOW, TOURISTS COMING TO ESPECIALLY WILLIAMSBURG ALL THE WAY UP AND DOWN THE LINE, RELY ON, YOU KNOW, COMMUTERS TO STOP IN BECAUSE OF THE CONVENIENCE OF HAVING THE BODEGA ON THE CORNER BUT IF THEY COME ON A SEPARATE LINE AND NOT COMMUTING THE SUBWAY BECAUSE OF THIS, THEY DON'T STOP AT THAT BODEGA AND IN A LOT OF CASES, THOSE BODEGAS HAVE TAKEN THESE PEOPLE TRAVELING FROM A LONG WAY AWAY SUPPORTING MULTIPLE FAMILIES.

DO YOU THINK A LOT OF THESE BUSINESSES WILL SHUT DOWN?

I THINK INEVITABLY THERE WILL BE CASUALTIES.

WE ONLY HAVE A LITTLE TIME BUT YOU SAID YOU DON'T ONLY WANT TO CONVEY THE PROMISE OF THE L TRAIN SHUT DOWN BUT WANT TO ADDRESS LARGE ERSR SCENES IN TH FILM.

WHAT ARE THEY?

THE SITUATION WITH THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS IS I INFRASTRUCTURE NATIONWIDE.

WE HEARD INFRASTRUCTURE IS CRUMBLING AND WE DON'T MAINTAIN THE THINGS THAT WE BUILD BECAUSE IT'S NOT SEXY FOR A POLITICIAN.

POLITICS WANT TO BUILD A BRAND-NEW STATION OR A BRAND-NEW BUILDING OR STATUTE OR PARK.

THEY DON'T WANT TO MAINTAIN WHAT WE HAVE AND THAT'S GOTTEN US TO THIS POINT AND THE L TRAIN WAS FLOODED BUT HURRICANE SANDY SO IT'S SLIGHTLY A DIFFERENT CASE BUT, YOU KNOW, MAYBE IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUTFITTED TO PREVENT SOME FLOOD LIKE THAT.

I MEAN, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY, IT WAS VULNERABLE BUT NO ONE IS REALLY --

WELL, QUICKLY, AS I SAID, THE FILM WILL COME OUT AT THE FALL NEXT YEAR.

BUT YOU WERE GOING TO BE SHOWING SNIPPETS OF IT ONLINE?

YES, ON SOCIAL MEDIA, THANKS FOR ASKING.

FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

WE'RE ACTUALLY RELEASING BITS OF FOOTAGE AS WE SHOOT IT AND WE ARE SHOWING BEHIND THE SCENES.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE L TRAIN SHUT DOWN SO IF YOU WANT TO STAY UP ON THE LATEST AND SEE WHAT WE'RE DOING.

OKAY.

THAT'S THE PLACE TO DO IT.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

OKAY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

APPRECIATE IT.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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