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Saint Anselm’s Church and Bay Ridge residents complain of intense disturbance from R train

Shaken faith! Subway noise creating cracks in church school, priest says

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Ridgites along Fourth Avenue say the subway is leaving them shaken.

Leaders at Saint Anselm’s Catholic Church and School on Fourth Avenue between 82nd and 83rd streets — directly above the R line — say the vibrations of passing trains has grown louder and more jarring in the past few months.

“We’ve always known that the train was there, but the vibration now is 10 times,” said Monsignor John Moloney. “In the school now you actually feel like the train is going to come into the room, it’s that strong.”

The increased rumbling from the line coincided with the appearance of cracks in the exterior brickwork and limestone trim of both the school and the church — something unseen since they were built 88 and 62 years ago, respectively. Last week, a chunk of limestone actually broke off the school and tumbled four stories to the sidewalk. Thankfully, no children were injured in that incident, but Moloney worries what might happen as more pieces come loose.

“If it’d hit, it would have killed somebody,” Moloney said. “Why is the limestone falling off now?”

Workers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority visited the school and placed instruments in the basement to measure the vibrations — but the agency claims it found only slightly elevated levels, not enough to damage a building. The MTA said that the noise is a result of 30-year-old rails, and promised it would fix the problem soon.

“We are working overnights to replace and repair rail which should mitigate the vibrations. This should be completed shortly,” said an agency spokesman.

Local leaders applauded the news that repairs are underway, but noted that dozens of people have called in to complain.

“These are longtime Bay Ridge residents who have never experienced vibrations to this degree. When you have 30 complaints, that means there is a problem,” said Josephine Beckmann, district manager for Community Board 10.

Residents say the quaking is becoming unbearable — both for themselves and for their buildings.

“The vibrations are so bad, it feels like I’m on the Cyclone,” said Pam Pazarecki, who has lived along the thoroughfare for 48 years. “These are buildings that are what, 100 years old? They can’t take this!”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
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Reader Feedback

Sheila Lynch from Bay Ridge says:
I live on 72nd Street between 3rd & 4th Avenue. After enduring noise, inconvenience, indifference and lack of follow through by the School Construction Authority during years of construction of the new school on Ovington Avenue, we are now subjected to a profound increase in noise and vibrations from the R train which has negatively impacted our quality of life. The MTA placed a monitor in our 114 year old limestone home. When I call or email the MTA to inquire about status, I am told that I need to contact an elected official or the Community Board to get an update. Why won't the MTA keep me directly informed, and why haven't I received any update from elected officials or the Community Board? While it's a relief to hear that theoretically the noise and vibrations can be fixed, I need to know what the plan and time frame is to do that--it should be done as soon as possible so that our lives can return to normal and we can function without feeling like the subway is in our living room. All Bay Ridge elected officials and the Community Board should be strong and vigilant advocates and partners for an MTA fix, and keep their constituents informed of status. It would be a bonus if the MTA, electeds and Community Board would proactively improve the shameful and filthy state of the Bay Ridge Avenue R station as well. Sheila A. Lynch
Feb. 13, 2014, 1:18 pm
Dave from Bensonhurst / Boro Park says:
It's the same with the N line between New Utrecht to 86th Street. I live between the 18th Avenue and 20th Avenue stations and have the open aired, underground tracks running through my backyard. Since they changed the tracks from wood to cement blocks, the vibration became noticeable. The back room / extension of the house felt the brunt of it and starting to see cracks in the floors. It used to be flat and now the extension is at an outward angle from the rest of the house.
Feb. 16, 11:53 am

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