LIC fans get silent treatment

By Rebecca Henely

A new project on 50th Avenue in Long Island City is designed to turn down both the noise of the loud exhaust fans along 50th Avenue and resident complaints.

State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced last week they had secured state and city money to fund silencers and acoustic/sound attenuation louvers for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s fans for the No. 7 subway line.

“I am glad that we have been able to find a solution for a problem that has been plaguing Long Island City for over a year,” Gianaris said in a statement.

Mike Murphy, spokesman for Gianaris, said the exhaust fans are intended to clear the Steinway Tunnel when workers are doing maintenance on it. The fans had been installed in 1910, back when the area was mostly industrial. But as the area became residential and more people moved in, the loud noise the fans made became a nuisance.

“This noise has long adversely affected the quality of life for many residents in western Queens,” Nolan said. “This is a great opportunity to redress a long-standing problem in Long Island City, which now has thousands of new residents.”

Murphy said the silencers and louvers for the fans will cost approximately $750,000 and will be installed by the end of 2011.

Van Bramer called the project “great news” for residents.

“Continuing to protect the quality of life for our residents has and will always be a top priority,” he said. “I am so pleased to have been able to … make this important initiative a reality.”

Thomas Prendergast, president of MTA New York City Transit, said in a statement that the silencers and louvers will maintain the subway system’s safety, but will not damage the residents’ quality of life.

“We operate our service in a dynamic environment and what worked in a location 50 years ago many times won’t work today, and the need to install noise-dampening equipment at this location is a perfect example,” Prendergast said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.