Feb. 11, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working to remove some overhead tiles along parts of the 7 line viaduct after chunks of the decorative yellow and green strips dislodged and fell to the parking lot below—even piercing a car windshield—last month.
The agency inspected the entire viaduct for loose tiles on Jan. 17, two days after the Sunnyside Post reported that pieces of the decorative terra cotta tiles had fallen near 45th Street and Queens Boulevard, with one of the 4-by-8 inch tiles slicing through the windshield of a parked car underneath.
The report came after a local resident, alarmed after stumbling upon the scene at the municipal lot, sent images to the site that showed the damaged car windshield with the tile still wedged upright in it, and a pile of yellow and green tiles strewn on the ground by the car’s tires.
The MTA said the inspection done four weeks ago revealed a few locations along the roughly 20-block viaduct where tiles showed some minor signs of movement, but were not actually loose. The agency insisted that the identified tiles did not pose a public risk to safety.
Out of an abundance of caution, however, the MTA said it directed workers to remove those tiles, with work starting on Jan. 24 and presently ongoing.
It is unclear where exactly the agency is removing tiles along the concrete viaduct, although workers were spotted in a bucket crane at tile level last Thursday evening between 41st and 42nd Streets, on the south side of the boulevard.
The tile removal work also comes after a Facebook user, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment, said in the public “Sunnyside Together” page last week that tile parts had fallen from the viaduct near 42nd Street, also on the south side of the boulevard.
The post included photos taken at the scene of shattered green pieces on the sidewalk, matching the color of the tiles above.
The more-than-a-century-old viaduct was last overhauled in the 1990s to the tune of $90 million. Last year, the viaduct’s state was called into question after chunks of concrete fell to the roadway below.
New York City Transit, however, did a comprehensive inspection of that area following the incident, and said no capital structural work was warranted at the time.