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NY1 Exclusive: Subway Blasts Rattling Historic UES Homes, Owners Say

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Some residents on Manhattan's Upper East Side are complaining that vibrations from the blasting for the Second Avenue subway line are damaging their century-old landmarked homes. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.

Manhattan resident Julianne Bertagna's brownstone was built in 1864. It's one of 45 landmarked homes in the Treadwell Farms Historic District, running between Second and Third avenues from East 63rd Street down to 60th Street.

She can tell exactly when they're blasting for the new Second Avenue subway line's tunnel, especially when standing in her kitchen.


NY1's cameras recently captured one of the blasts inside Bertagna's home, which was located a block and a half away underneath 63rd Street and Third Avenue.

Bertagna says she concerned about the cracks and possible structural damage, but that's not all.

"What if something fell off a wall, something fell on a child," Bertagna said. "I know there have been people in the neighborhood who have said that light fixtures have fallen out of the ceilings or lamps have fallen off their walls."

Residents like Bertagna say they're frustrated with what they call the MTA's lack of responsiveness, and have hired a politically well-connected law firm.

"When you're dealing with historic homes, if damage is too extensive an insurance check is not necessarily going to replace history. We just don't know how extensive the damage will be with another two months at levels of blasting that are just too high," said Homeowners' Attorney Arthur Goldstein.

Goldstein said after some arm twisting the MTA agreed to install two vibration monitoring devices in the area. But now Goldstein says the residents are frustrated because the MTA isn't sharing the data.

"Let's analyze it from their perspective and from an independent perspective and then take action to change the blasting methods," said Goldstein.

The MTA says the blasting is below allowable levels set by the Department of Buildings and it will be giving the vibration data to the residents who own the buildings where the agency placed the monitors.

Homeowners, meantime, are deciding whether to ask a judge for an injunction to stop the blasting.

Contractors say stopping it or reducing the force of the explosions might well jeopardize the timetable for the long awaited subway.

The first phase is due to be finished at the end of 2016.

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