New bill to protect Astoria school from ‘disruptive’ subway noise 4 The Queens Courier • september 11, 2014 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com Sponsored by Providing comprehensive end-of-life care in the home, nursing home, and in-patient setting throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Nassau County. For referrals or information call 718.472.1999 or visit www.hospiceny.com BY ANGY ALTAMIRANO firstname.lastname@example.org @aaltamirano28 Members of one Astoria school, located about 50 feet away from a subway platform, are hoping a new proposed bill will help bring “peaceful learning.” The community at P.S. 85 is met daily with noise problems caused by the N and Q elevated subway line, which shakes windows and disrupts lessons, according to parents and teachers. Looking to bring a stop to the noise pollution, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley announced on Sept. 8 the Peaceful Learning Act of 2014, new legislation that would require the formation of a program to lessen railway noise levels that “negatively impact” public schools in the city. “As another school year begins, it is unconscionable that so many children whose schools are located near elevated trains are forced to learn under these adverse conditions,” said Crowley. “If we are serious about helping our children reach their full potential, providing an adequate and peaceful learning environment is priority number one.” During the Monday morning announcement, speakers were interrupted by trains passing by in front of the school. Teachers, parents and elected officials held up two fingers, a gesture used daily to pause school lectures every time a train passes. During rush hour trains pass by every two minutes and during normal hours, every five minutes, according to officials. The proposed federal bill will direct the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the impact of the subway noise on schools, determine acceptable ideas and evaluate the usefulness of noise reduction programs, according to the congressman. Then schools that would be considered subject to unacceptable noise levels will be qualified to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, together with local matching funds, to build barriers or acoustical shielding to soundproof the sites. Last December, the P.S. 85 community and elected officials rallied to call on the MTA and Department of Education to help alleviate the noise problems. “This cannot go on any longer. This school has been here for over a hundred years, trains came after, and the school has adjusted,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, vice president of the parent association at P.S. 85. “Our kids go with it, our teachers go with it. And we all know we shouldn’t get used to things that are bad for you.” Rebecca Bratspies, who is director of the City University of New York School of Law Center for Urban Environmental Reform and also the parent of a third grader at P.S. 85, said last fall she and another parent, Eric Black, recorded a video from inside the classroom to show the level of noise students face. While they recorded, the parents measured the noise level in the classroom to be 90 decibels, almost double the normal standard. “The children come here every day trying hard to learn. They do their best,” said Bratspies. “Now we have to do our best.” THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano The Peaceful Learning Act of 2014 will help reduce subway noise levels “ negatively impacting” city public schools, such as P.S. 85 in Astoria. HISTORIC GREENHOUSES RECEIVE MORE THAN $1M FOR RESTORATION PROJECT BY ERIC JANKIEWICZ email@example.com/@ericjankiewicz The Queens County Farm Museum is getting some serious green to fix three greenhouses on the state’s oldest continuously running farm, according to city records. The city Department of Design and Construction will begin a $1.4 million construction project in 2015 to restore the wooden structures. The last time the Floral Park site’s greenhouses were restored was in 1999, and since then, their concrete foundations and wooden window frames have decayed. According to James Trent, the founder of the museum, the greenhouses need to be restored every few decades since they were built in 1929 and 1934. “They’re the last wooden greenhouses owned by the city,” he said. “These houses are very attractive but they need to be worked on periodically.” Currently, only one of the sites is being used for plants and flowers. The other two are empty and the public isn’t allowed in them out of fear that the aging wood might drop the glass panels that they hold. The passage of time “really causes the wood to shift out of place,” said Executive Director Amy Boncardo. “It’s like a living structure and very complex.” The farm, which began in 1697, is owned by the Parks Department and serves as an agricultural production center and an educational center for schools. THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz This greenhouse has glass panels that are being held by tape, while other missing panels are patched with plastic.
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