Venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn look ahead to 18 disconnected months (starting in 2019). "I'll be curious to see which side of the river gets affected more."
When Superstorm Sandy barreled through the New York City area in October 2012, it devastated many of the tunnels used by the city's subway system, effectively cutting off Manhattan from its surrounding boroughs for more than a week. Now, four years later, the damage caused by that storm will force the Metropolitan Transit Authority to shut down the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn -- and its crosstown section in Manhattan -- for 18 months beginning in 2019, causing front page headlines across the city.
But most importantly for the music industry, the L connects several of North Brooklyn's creative and arts-loving communities with key venues on both sides of the river: Highline Ballroom, Irving Plaza and Webster Hall all sit within five blocks of 14th street in Manhattan; Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg, the Knitting Factory and Rough Trade are all within a short walk from the L line in Brooklyn. And those are just a handful of the clubs, bars, halls and theaters that cater to live music lovers that could be affected by the coming closure -- not to mention the musicians that live in the neighborhoods.
"I'll be curious to see which side of the river gets affected more," says Heath Miller, vice president of concerts at Webster Hall, located on 11th street in Manhattan. "People from Manhattan will be less likely to go to Brooklyn than ever before. And I think for people in Brooklyn, it'll be a bigger impact on the weekends than the weekdays, when people are still coming to Manhattan for work."