David Stone
Saturday, July 27th, 2019, all escalators broken at upper level in Roosevelt Island Subway Station. No repairs in progress.
Saturday, July 27th, 2019, all escalators broken at upper level in Roosevelt Island Subway Station. No repairs in progress.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

The MTA's ineptitude in managing simple escalators hit a new high in lows yesterday on Roosevelt Island. Recent weeks have been bad, but Saturday was special, more so because it was the culmination of a weeks long build up of incompetence.

With every escalator between the center mezzanine and street level down - and no one on site working on them - elderly and physically challenged subway users were forced to struggle up three long flights of stairs to escape the hot, stale air in the Roosevelt Island Subway Station.

The rest of us disliked the inconvenience, but watching frailer neighbors, some assisted by relatives, labor through the long climb was painful.

The MTA offered no assistance of any kind. In fact, they made the situation worse through either indifference or ineptitude, take your pick. No signs on the lower level warned riders of the mess above before they rode straight up into it.

UPDATE: As of early this morning, according to the MTA website, six escalators are out on Roosevelt Island, including two on the upper level. Just one notoriously unreliable set of moving stairs is carrying passengers, and there's no indication in which direction it's going.

If you're into grim humor, you'll appreciate the pessimism extraordinaire inspired by MTA Info's list of reasons for the breakdowns. For every out of service escalator, except the longtime fiasco on the extreme north upper level, it's "Under Investigation." 

Optimism be damned.

Physically challenged travelers are cautioned to avoid this station. The escalators can't be relied on, and the elevators are small, dirty and subject to breakdown with no rescue personnel nearby.