A Con Ed steam pipe under 14th Street failed on Tuesday morning, leading to heat and hot water outages at many of the adjacent East Village apartments.
More than 30,000 residents of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village complex received the advisory from their management company this afternoon. They were initially informed that the steam pipe was punctured by MTA crews overseeing L train work in the area—though a spokesperson for Con Ed has since confirmed that they were the source of the equipment failure. As a result, apartments would be without hot water or heat for much of the day.
For months now, local residents and City Councilmembers have complained about the "24/7 construction zone" around Avenue A and 14th Street, which was the main staging site for the now-averted L train shutdown. While the full shutdown was called off by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this month, some of the planned improvements in the area—including a new elevator at 1st Avenue, and additional stairs and a new entrance at Avenue A—are still going forward.
"As part of the revised L Project, we’re still moving forward on the long-term reliability improvement work we had originally planned," the MTA's website explains. "This includes installing brand new rail in the tunnel and along other critical sections of the L line, and preparing key switches and signals. For you, this means our track will be safer and trains will run faster and smoother, and that we’ll have the right signals to run the one-track operation come April."
For those who rely on the L train outside of standard commuting hours, it also means that a pre-shutdown of sorts is already underway. Starting this week, L train service will be suspended between Broadway Junction and Manhattan on nights and weekends, through mid-March. Once the actual non-shutdown shutdown kicks off later this year, riders can expect 20 minute headways on nights and weekends, potentially resulting in “record on-board crowding” with actual wait times to board trains of “40 minutes or more," according to an internal MTA memo obtained by Gothamist.
For the time being, at least, L train service appears to be operating smoothly—though who knows what sort of fun surprises your evening commute will hold.
Correction: A previous version of this piece misstated the cause of the burst steam pipe. The pipe was caused by a Con Ed equipment failure, and was not the result of L train repair work. We regret the error.