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D train train an earful of trouble for Brooklyn biz

General Manager Louis Gellman at Hilna Tires  complains that the elevated subway D train makes excessive noise. (Photo by Willie Davis)

To one Brooklyn neighborhood, the D train now stands for deafening.

A sharp curve of the elevated subway near 25th Avenue stop has made for an ungodly screech when the train runs by, with nearby workers saying it’s damaged their hearing.

“I have ringing in my ears. I don’t know what to do,” said Louise Gellman, 60, owner of a Bensonhurst tire store perched below the curve.

The noise got worse when the MTA installed new track along the line last year and stopped applying grease on the rails, local officials say.

“This kind of administrative decisions has had real health consequences,” said Assemb. William Colton, (D-Bensonhurst).

Gellman’s employees are exposed to hours of the screeching, and it’s gotten so bad that they frequently can’t talk to customers or hear their intercom, they say.

“It’s stop, hold-on, wait a minute,” said Mario Angelone, the store’s general manager.

After complaints from Colton and Gellman, NYC Transit inspectors installed more devices to lubricate the tracks last month, which has “greatly” muffled the screeching, transit spokesman Charles Seaton said.

But Gellman said Tuesday that the noise is still just as bad when the trains run at full speed. And earlier this month, noise readings averaged around 95 decibels, with some of the measurements shooting beyond 100. Long-term exposure to noise greater than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage, according to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.

Transit officials believe the noise will taper off with time. “We expect further noise reductions as the new track wears in,” Seaton said.


Top subway noise spots

96th Street, C train
Fulton Street, A train
42nd Street, C train
Source: University of Washington, Columbia University

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