QUEENS, N.Y. - The view from Patrick Saint Jean’s backyard in East Elmhurst overlooking the Grand Central Parkway and LaGuardia Airport is a busy one. And in his backyard, noise from the $8 billion project to renovate the airport is apparent.
Saint Jean says he doesn’t just hear the racket, he feels it too.
"The bed is actually shaking. You know sometimes you sit down and you’re watching TV and the house shakes," St. Jean said.
Saint Jean says the vibrations have cracked his home's foundation, a problem more than two dozen of his neighbors have endured, too. While the airport's renovation has three more years to go the proposal to build an elevated rail link linking LaGuardia and the Willets Point train station is still in the environmental review stage — which means it could be a construction zone for years to come.
"We don’t want the AirTrain to occur. There are other alternatives and we want a seat at the table," said Rev. Lisa Jenkins, an East Elmhurst Resident.
Frank Taylor Jr., who heads the Ditmars Boulevard Block Association, says the projected $2 billion cost of the AirTrain is absurd given the track record of a similar rail link to JFK Airport in reducing traffic.
"For a five minute ride? That we know from JFK and the Van Wyck there, it does not work," Taylor Jr. said.
But on 23rd Avenue, business owners welcome plans for the AirTrain. They say since the rebuilding of LaGuardia Airport began, business has been booming.
"What comes is more customers, more workers," said Jose Gabriel Hernandez, owner of LaGuardia Cafe.
A group of Queens businesses and stakeholders, known as A Better Way to LGA, also welcomes the the planned AirTrain, saying it will reduce traffic and vehicular emissions and make New York a more attractive destination for business travelers.
The Port Authority tells NY1 it believes community engagement is important and that such feedback led to changes in the AirTrain's route.
But back on Ditmars Boulevard, the most important change residents want is some peace and quiet.