The 3 Decker Restaurant sits at the corner of 91st Street and Second Avenue, its store front is blocked by jersey barriers and a metal chain-link fence, part of the construction for the second avenue subway.
Teddy Raftopoulous helps his brother run the place.
He says in the past 5 years since subway construction began, business is down as much as 30 percent.
“We used to have a lot of taxi drivers around, lot of limousine guys around, they can’t stop around,” Raftopolous said. “If you have a place and nobody can stop around, that hurts the business.”
One block north of the 3 Decker the MTA has presented what they think is the model for helping businesses weather the construction.
Michael Horodniceanu is the head of the MTA’s construction division.
“We need to make sure that we are good neighbors,” he said.
Horodniceanu walked reporters through what they’re calling a “model block” today.
It features better signage.
“At the corner of every block, we’re actually identifying only the stores that are on this block,” he said. “Very simple and direct.”
Pedestrian walkways that border construction are also more clearly-defined.
And the equipment inside the fences are hidden behind a screens woven into the fences. The backhoe is still there, but not staring you in the face.
The MTA wants local businesses to say if they like the model block, in order to expand it.
Robert Zantay lives on the subway route and doesn’t expect much from the new fencing and signs.
He says it’s too little to late.
“Everyone’s gone out of business already,” he said.
Teddy Raftopoulous says when the project is complete, it will be worthwhile.
He’s looking forward to riding the subway.
“You do something, you suffer a little bit and everything, but in the long way, you know, that’s very good for everybody,” he said.
The MTA expects to be working along Second Avenue through 2016.