Ridgites are furious about a lengthy construction project on 86th Street that has torn up the vital commercial strip and turned a block between Third and Fourth avenues into a dumping ground.
And now, worse, work crews are toiling at night!
The city says it is using the mostly residential block — which is lined with cranes, bulldozers and I-beams — to store construction equipment for the nighttime job of repairing sewers, water mains, curbs, sidewalks, street lights and roadways between Shore Road and Gatling Place.
But Ridgites who live and work on the once-quiet part of 86th Street say that they don’t want to play host to the equipment for the job, which is now centering on the bustling commercial strip between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
Work occurs on weekdays from 9 pm until 7 am.
“The stores get preferential treatment,” said Bernard, a resident of the block who says his street has been under siege by the construction equipment. “[Our block] has become their dumping ground — everything they use further up in the project, they’re dumping here.”
City officials say they are using the block between Third and Fourth avenues to store equipment so it doesn’t obstruct the busier business blocks to the east.
“We are not allowed to store or stage in the business district during the day,” said J.R. Martine, spokesman for the Department of Design and Construction. “It has to stay outside of the business district, which moves it closer to the residential area.”
But the few business owners who work on the block between Third and Fourth avenues are feeling the effects of the construction.
“They’re killing us, they’re killing our business,” said Sam Machalani, owner of the Red Barn Farms grocery at the corner of Third Avenue and 86th street. “No one can park here so no one comes here.”
The entire two-year, $5-million project is less than halfway done, but this phase of nighttime work should be completed within two weeks, Martine said. When that happens, the staging area will move to another location — which can’t come soon enough for residents of the block.
“It’s just disgusting here,” said Elaine, a longtime resident of the corner of Fourth Avenue and 86th Street who has been repeatedly awoken by the work.
“You can’t open your window because of the dust, you can’t open your window because of the noise. It would be better if they just did it during the day, then we could sleep.”
Residents with complaints about noise or other construction issues can call the project’s community liaison at (718) 238-0240, or 311.