Some residents in Astoria say noise from the nearby elevated trains is so loud it is breaking the law, prompting the MTA to search for a possible solution. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.
The sound of the elevated N or Q train can be heard street level as it pulls into the Ditmars Boulevard station, the last stop in Queens. It happens at least every 10 minutes during rush hour.
"I used to cover my son's ears but now he's gotten kind of used to it," said one passerby.
The hissing sound happens when train operators put the emergency brakes on and air is released from the system.
The brakes are set so the train operator can get off and walk to the other end to reverse direction. It happens at every station at the ends of each line, but City Councilman Peter Vallone Junior - who represents the area - says it's worse here because it's such a busy area and has been flooded with complaints for years.
"A jack hammer is going off unexpectedly in their ears. It's dangerous. It needs to be fixed," Vallone Jr. said.
A jackhammer's sound level is roughly what the MTA measured the hissing noise at. Its own measurements show the hissing increases the area's "normal" or ambient sound level by more than 10 decibels, a violation of city code. Although the MTA is a state authority not governed by city laws, officials say the are concerned and are investigating installing a sound deadening device.
"That would be fabulous," said one passerby.
Vallone Jr. says it's great that the agency is looking at a solution, but that it will be better when one is in place.