ASTORIA, QUEENS – After more than a year of restrictions, MTA officials and New York restaurateurs on Monday celebrated the return of 24-hour subway service and the full reopening of the city’s restaurants and bars in Astoria .
Before eating spanakopita, pork souvlaki and other traditional Greek dishes at the Taverna Kyclades in Astoria, officials and restaurateurs gathered outside the nearby Astoria-Ditmars Blvd metro station to mark the full return of service. metro and dining inside for the first time. since the start of the pandemic.
Governor Andrew Cuomo restored 24/7 subway service as of 2 a.m. on Monday, and indoor dining restrictions lifted and dropped the city’s mask mandate for fully vaccinated New Yorkers on Wednesday.
For many players in the transportation and hospitality industries, the subway and restaurants share what Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, has described as a “symbiotic relationship.”
“The point is that the restaurant industry cannot recover, let alone function, without a robust and efficient public transport system in place,” he said in a press release, noting that restaurant workers and customers rely on trains and buses to get to restaurants and bars – a point Governor Cuomo faced backlash when he dropped the city’s restaurant curfew before restoring full metro service.
In an effort to boost transit ridership, particularly amid ongoing debates over subway safety, the press conference in Astoria served as part of the MTA’s #TakeTheTrain and #TakeTheBus campaign.
Adrian Skenderi, owner of Taverna Kyclades, spoke at the press conference in a t-shirt featuring the campaign slogan “take the train”, calling the metro “our way back to normal”.
He was joined by prominent restaurateurs including Daniel Boulud and Melba Wilson, as well as NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg, who were all decked out in MTA campaign merchandising.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., who commented on the reopening in a press release, urged townspeople to take public transit to “one of our great restaurants in Queens” , many of which, he pointed out, are within walking distance of the Astoria metro. stations.