Some people who live and work along Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill dread the summer, but it is not the heat that bothers them, it’s the noise.
“In mid-July [of last year] we had to keep our windows shut and our TVs turned all the way up,” said one local.
Neighbors claim that the Loving Grace Assembly of God Church, at 108th Street and Jamaica Avenue, is even louder than the elevated “J” line that runs overhead.
“They are extremely loud,” said one, who declined to give his name, but noted that his upstairs neighbor is getting ready to move because of the noise.
In fact, at the most recent meeting of the Richmond Hill Block Association (RHBA), on Wednesday, March 31, various complaints were lodged.
“They have full band equipment,” said the man, “guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, singers and amplifiers. I can feel the vibration from the bass guitar through my floors. I called the 102nd Precinct and 3-1-1.”
A police source at the 102 told The Courier that he, in fact, did speak with someone at the church, and that he “was very responsive,” adding that, “no matter what time of the day, you can’t have noise that exceeds a certain level.”
In addition to the praise and worship from 8 to 10 p.m., neighbors say that, at 10:30 p.m., church vans arrive to pick up parishioners and begin honking their horns.
Just recently, a neighbor told The Courier, the church has begun holding mid-day rehearsals.
“On my days off, at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I hear drums, keyboards, full blast.”
“They don’t seem to understand that what they’re doing is an intrusion into our quality of life – they’re just too loud.”
Nevertheless, a church official, who told The Courier that Loving Grace has been at the location since 1995 and owns the building, disputes the claims, saying that they are, in fact, good neighbors.
“We are praising God, we are helping people,” he said. “We help the community so much – we are the only church to give out free food to folks.”
With services on Sunday mornings, Friday nights, some Thursdays and Tuesdays, the official said that Loving Grace has 150 parishioners who donate clothing and even throw a free Christmas party with gifts for neighborhood children every year.
“It’s one of the many things we do for the neighborhood,” he said. “It’s a matter of a few people who don’t like us,” he said.