Op-ed | MTA ready for postseason baseball in New York

Keith Hernandez
Baseball legend Keith Hernandez, NYC Transit President Richard Davey, and New York Mets President Sandy Alderson pose at the Mets-Willets Point station on Wednesday, Sep 14.
Marc Hermann / MTA

The subways have seen a lot in (almost) 118 years, but fans of both current New York baseball teams traveling to playoff games? That’s a rare occurrence. Before this year, it had only happened four times in the 60 years since the Metropolitans first played baseball at the Polo Grounds.

Now Mets and Yankees fans will be taking trains to the games at a moment when riders are returning to the transit system in record numbers.

With students back in school, nightlife being enjoyed by New Yorkers and office workers gradually returning, the most recent pandemic-high ridership came on September 21, when the subways carried 3.875 million riders. Buses are regularly serving 1.5 million customers, while Paratransit is doing the best of all NYC Transit agencies with almost 90 percent of its pre-pandemic base, approximately 28,000 daily users. This stellar performance by Paratransit confirms what we already knew: there’s an incredibly high demand for accessible transit options in New York City beyond buses, Access-a-Ride and for-hire vehicles. 

Earlier this year, the MTA pledged to make the subway system 95% accessible by the year 2055 – the most ambitious commitment of its kind by any public agency in the country – and leveraging private development is a key piece of our strategy to deliver on this goal. It hasn’t always been an easy process, but one year ago this week, the City Council adopted a zoning change that incentivizes companies building near transit to include elevators and other infrastructure improvements in their designs; it’s called Zoning for Accessibility (ZFA). 

Since then, the MTA has announced two high-profile ZFA bonuses at the 57th Street F and Queensboro Plaza 7-N-W stations, with easements for future upgrades secured at another two properties. There’s still a long way to go before we achieve universal accessibility, but this is a strong start and we’re thrilled to celebrate these successes as we approach the subways’ 118th year in operation.

To help mark the anniversary, we unveiled the new 1904 sandwich in partnership with Alidoro and the legendary Katz’s Deli. This delicious pastrami creation, which comes in a special Vignelli subway map wrapper, will be available all month at four Alidoro locations in Manhattan. There’s also a chance to win an OMNY prize if you buy your meal as part of an MTA Away lunchbox special. 

It might sound like an unconventional promotion, but we’re always happy to find new ways of connecting with riders – now over a sandwich, and hopefully soon on the way to a Mets-Yankees Subway World Series!