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Carnegie Hall rattled by subway noise


Lately, Carnegie Hall has featured a new rising star — the R train.

Concertgoers and music critics alike are dealing with increased subway
rattling during shows at an underground hall at the historic venue.

“You can hear the rumble of the train … especially during the piano pieces,” said Louis Rivera, 62, a classical music buff.

Carnegie Hall recently called the MTA after noticing more rumbling in its underground Zankel Hall, which was rebuilt in 2003.

Even though the room was soundproofed and nearby rails at 57th
Street-7th Ave were polished by the MTA, the rumbling gets through,
some music critics say. NYC Transit officials agreed that the rails
there should be quieter.

“There are pauses that go with the program, and then every once in a
while you hear a clankety, clankety,” said Thomas Abdallah, NYC Transit’s chief environmental engineer.

Carnegie Hall spokeswoman Synneve Carlino said the subway causes a “faint sound or vibration,” but that it doesn’t disrupt concerts. Carlino added noise readings have gone up.

Repairs were made last month after inspectors found wear on the rails, transit spokesman Charles Seaton said.

“In the future, we will perform testing at this location once a year and request track maintenance as needed,” Seaton said.

The MTA receives about 600 noise complaints a year across its departments, according to the most recent figures available. Many city venues, including the Angelika Theater and MOMA’s underground movie house, are no stranger to distracting subway noise.

“It's incredible how the whole places rumbles,” said Tina Shymanski, 58, a Chelsea theater buff who has found subway noise to be a problem at West Village venues. “Luckily the actors can act through anything.”

For the first time in 15 years, transit officials have formed a committee to survey noise across the subway and bus system, officials said. Inspectors went out with noise readers to make readings and note problem spots. They are expected to release their findings soon.

Some New Yorkers felt resigned to the rumbling.

“I've grown accustomed to the subway’s noises. I hear them even during service at Grace Church,” said Caroline Marshall, 55, of Manhattan.

Phoebe Kingsak contributed to this story.

Photo: Andrew Hinderaker

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