First Avenue residents complain it was 'like a dust storm'

A bus traveling northbound on 1st Avenue at A bus traveling northbound on 1st Avenue at 86th Street churns up dust in Manhattan. (Aug. 21, 2013) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Construction woes on Manhattan's Upper East Side are not limited to Second Avenue subway work.

Residents who live near First Avenue have been complaining of dust being kicked up by a road repaving project.

The city Department of Transportation on Aug. 12 started a project to rip up asphalt and pave First Avenue between 72nd and 125th streets, a job slated to last until mid-September.

Though the work is done overnight during the week, cars riding along the unpaved road during the day have caused plumes of dust that reach into apartments overhead.

Jackie Rose, 65, who lives on 86th Street near First Avenue, said it was "like a dust storm."

"You had to put your hand on your face to breathe," Rose said.

Jeanne, an 85th Street resident who asked to have her last name withheld, said the dust has been getting into her fourth-floor apartment, causing her to wake up in the middle of the night with a cough.

"Every morning, I'm washing every surface, and two hours later it's covered again," she said.

Residents did note that there was less dust in the air Wednesday, compared with when the repaving project was getting underway.

DOT spokesman Scott Gastel said the agency has increased efforts to suppress the dust, such as adding sweepers and wetting the area.

Elaine Schapker, 74, who lives on the Upper East Side, noticed the improvement Wednesday while standing on the corner of 82nd Street and First Avenue, as cars whizzed by.

"Now, those would be clouds of dust coming up," she said, referring to what she had seen before.

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