Airplane noise torments northeast Queens residents


| mchan@queenscourier.com |

File photo
File photo

A nonstop rush of aircraft flights and a barrage of low flying planes have residents in northeast Queens alarmed at the deafening “war zone” they say their neighborhoods have become in the last two months.

“The sound — it’s like you’re living in an airport,” said Angela Polito of Bayside. “It’s nonstop, every 20 seconds, one after another. It’s been terrible.”

Residents from Bayside and downtown Flushing say they have been tormented since mid-June by the ear-splitting roar of airplanes they say soar past their homes by the minute each day from 6 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Oiman Chan of Flushing, who suffers from anxiety, said the constant blaring booms that rattle the windows of his Franklin Avenue co-op have become “numbing.”

“It sounds like you’re under a war zone,” said the 63-year-old retired Department of Education employee. “I am suffering from panic attacks already and this is killing me.”

Eddy Liu, 68, who lives in the same Flushing co-op, said the nonstop noise distresses thousands of shareholders, including masses of elderly people.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not comment before press time. But in a June 22 letter sent to State Senator Tony Avella, the agency said they were conducting a six-month trial to test a procedure at LaGuardia Airport, in which departing traffic turns left to the north off Runway 13.

Amy Yeung of Flushing said flight routes used to run north over College Point Boulevard, only shifting downtown during the annual U.S. Open tournaments. But recent lavish neighborhood developments like the Sky View Center mall, Sky View Parc luxury condos and upcoming future plans for Willets Point, she said, could be the motive behind the rerouting.

“That’s my wild guess,” said Yeung, 45. “[But] you can’t make one group of people happy and disturb the others, if that’s the case. Everybody has to go to work and everybody has to have quality of sleep.”

The FAA said it would take in public comment before making the new route permanent.

“The agency does not have the authority to prohibit aircraft from flying over a particular geographic area unless the operation is unsafe or the aircraft is operated in a manner inconsistent with federal aviation regulations,” the FAA said in the letter.

Meanwhile, Polito said the frequent flights over Bayside are almost as unnerving as how low the planes are flying.

“We can practically wave to the people in the planes,” she said.

Queens residents in Woodside and Briarwood have also said they’ve been living in turbulence from thundering aircraft.