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

The Brooklyn Paper
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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 or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:

“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."

Perhaps now that it is more "out in the open" other victims shall also let their voices finally be heard. Pardon the irony on the air like this, but I'm afraid someone had to say it. That man's name is John Wasserman.
Feb. 13, 2014, 11:32 am
NYPD from NY says:
god is a man made myth.
Feb. 13, 2014, 12:02 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
I hate to ask this, but if that's true, how do you explain a rainbow in a mirror?
Feb. 13, 2014, 3:46 pm
LABJ from Bay Ridge says:
Finally this issue has been addressed. I have lived in my home for 55 yrs, yes I was a toddler back then. Over the past year my the vibrations in my dining room are so bad I am concerned the china cabinet will fall. I felt it had to be the R train. Now my windows rattle when the train goes through. I have been in BRMI many times and another doctor's office on 4th avenue and it is scary. The point here is that I live btwn 3rd & 4th avenue and this is happening here. There is a definite problem going on with MTA.
Feb. 13, 2014, 8:42 pm
R Train Rider from Bay Ridge says:
I lived a few hundred feet West of 4th Ave for years and always felt the train going by. You could tell from the windows rattling.

If this has been getting worse, is it connected with the service changes due to the tunnel closure this past year?

Also, the R used to slow down between 77th and 86th Street Stations, which is right where St. Anselm's is located. I've noticed the trains no longer slow down. Perhaps this is contributing to the problem?
Feb. 13, 2014, 9:11 pm
D. Oakley from Bay Ridge says:
I have lived in a building on Fourth Avenue and 79th Street for the past 25 years, and I can tell you these vibrations began at about the time the R train route was shortened for repair work on the tunnel. Additional the newer train cars, as opposed to the previous model, appear to be a significant source of the vibrations.
Feb. 14, 2014, 12:52 pm
R Train Rider from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, I also wonder if the new train cars have something to do with it.

Today, for the second day in a row that I paid special attention (because of this Brooklyn Paper feature), the south-bound train I was on sped from 77th to 86th (which the R never used to do prior to the tunnel closing and new cars being added to the line). Then, the train sat for almost 5 minutes outside 95th street waiting for a track to clear. Why speed down 4th and bust up a church from the unnecessary vibrations, only to wait at the end?

The R slows down while going under City Hall. It used to do that while going under St. Anselm's. It can do it again.
Feb. 14, 2014, 7:52 pm
Pat D from Bay Ridge says:
Why is the MTA investigating themselves? Can't OSHA or some investigative committee check on this? By the way, my basement tile floor started to crack over the past several months and is getting worse. It has been in place with no problem for 12 years. I also reside a short distance west of 4th avenue like "R" train rider. The vibrations in the home are increasingly worse.
Feb. 14, 2014, 8:24 pm
Vic from Dyker says:
Why OSHA??
Feb. 14, 2014, 10:30 pm
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
Live right off fourth.
I concur - problem has gotten a lot worse over the past several months...
Feb. 15, 2014, 12:57 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Ask the Bay Ridge Towers residents. They would know!
Feb. 23, 2014, 5:55 pm

Comments closed.

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