NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a story you’ll see only on CBS2. There’s a noise nuisance in Queens.
Some residents say activity at a mall parking lot is keeping them up all hours of the night, and they tell reporter Lisa Rozner no one is helping.
They said it sounds like gunshots and even registers on the Citizen App that way.
“It’s terrible,” said Rudy Sarchese, president of the Astoria Homeowners, Tenants and Business Civic Association.
But it turns out that sound is souped-up cars rolling into a strip mall parking lot on 37th Street between 19th and 20th avenues in Astoria.
“Last night, it was maybe about 150 cars,” Sarchese said.
“You can hear some people have taken off their mufflers as well,” a resident named Anna added.
Police responded to a packed lot at 1 a.m. on Sunday. Video obtained by CBS2 shows smoke rising from the rubber pressing against the pavement. Circular tire markings are plastered all over spaces. Residents said it started getting bad in May, and worse after the anchoring supermarket closed in July.
“It’s a lot of them coming every other night,” said Alex Uvaydoe, manager of Astoria Liquors.
One employee at a clothing store told Rozner her parked car was struck by a drag racer last week.
“My insurance can go up and the landlord insurance can go up and nobody wants people to get hurt,” added Peter Rappa of the Astoria Pizza Factory.
A resident who wanted to remain anonymous said neighbors have moved.
“I’ve ordered noise-reducing curtains. I’ve had panels put on my windows. I’ve taken supplements to try and sleep easier,” the resident said.
Police from the 114th Precinct have responded, but residents have been told because the property owner does not have “no trespassing” or a gate at the entrance it is harder to enforce.
And when drivers flee, “I’ve witnessed speeding. I’d witnessed illegal turns,” the resident said.
When reached by phone, the owner of Elias Properties told CBS2 a “no loitering” sign will go up this week. But for now, he won’t put up a gate or chain at the entrance because he doesn’t want to prevent tenants from getting deliveries.
CBS2 asked the NYPD for statistics on summonses and what kind of enforcement action it’s taking. A spokesperson would only say, “The NYPD is committed to protecting all New York City communities and ensuring the safety of everyone who lives and works in them. The Commanding Officer is aware of the condition at the location and is working with community partners to address it. Precinct personnel will continue conduct patrols in order to correct it.”
Residents said they’ve complained to the office of Councilman Costa Constaninides about the issue as well.
In a statement, his spokesperson, Terence Cullen, said “Drag racing is completely unacceptable, and we’re working to address unsafe conditions in this and other parts of Astoria. Drivers shouldn’t treat our streets like the Daytona 500. It’s incredibly dangerous activity that creates noise and chaos on our streets. We share residents’ frustration about the noise and unsafe conditions, and are working to make sure reckless drivers are held accountable.”
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