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MTA Removing Decorative Tiles From 7 Line Viaduct Citing Safety Concerns

Decorative yellow and green tiles on the 7 Train Viaduct to be removed by the MTA  (Photo: Queens Post, Oct. 18)

Oct. 18, 2019 By Christian Murray

The MTA is removing the overhead tiles along a one mile stretch of the 7 line viaduct in response to the decorative strips falling off.

The agency began removing the tiles from 32nd Place to 48th Street last Saturday and is expected to complete the job by the end of the month. The work comes after at least two incidents this year where the tiles have fallen and struck cars below.

The MTA says that the work is being done as a preventive measure.

“We began removing the tiles on Saturday, Oct. 12. There is no public risk to safety but out of an abundance of caution, we are removing the tiles, which is expected to take two weeks,” the MTA said in a statement.

The Sunnyside Post reported in January of an incident when the decorative terra cotta tiles came crashing down.

Vitali Ogorodnikov, a resident, snapped pictures of his car at the time that had been parked underneath the train at 45th Street and had been damaged by falling tiles.

“It’s terra cotta turning into deadly projectiles,” Ogorodnikov told the Sunnyside Post at the time, noting that a 4-by-8-inch tile, still intact and upright, had sliced through the windshield “like knife through butter.”

Photo: Vitali Ogorodnikov

The work to remove the tiles is taking place about two weeks after the MTA announced that it is spending $325 million to install netting under all elevated subway tracks to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists traveling below.

There have been numerous incidents of debris falling from the elevated tracks this year, including several incidents in Woodside, and cars have been impaled or damaged as a result.

The MTA notified Assembly Member Catherine Nolan earlier this month that it planned to remove the tiles.

Nolan said that it was good that the MTA is looking to make the public safe but wanted the decorative titles to be preserved. She is asking the MTA to save the “historic” tiles, while ensuring safety at the same time.

Nolan penned a letter to MTA Chairman Patrick Foye

“I share your concern but due to the historic nature of these decorative tiles, I would hope that they could eventually be restored rather than taken all down,” Nolan wrote. “Of course safety is paramount but I believe the MTA can work to keep the historic structure restored.”

Nolan asked the agency to took into a solution as soon as possible.

However, the MTA has no intention of preserving the decorative tiles arguing that they are of no historic value.

“These tiles do not have historic value and are purely decorative,” an MTA spokesperson said.

Letter to MTA, Tiles, 10-15-19 by Queens Post on Scribd

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

Do you want to go up there on a cherry picker and do it for free? What should they do? Wait for someone to be injured by the falling tiles and sue? Isn’t there enough dropping from the 7 tracks?

sir Walter Raleigh

Screw the passengers what do thye want for there lousy 35 cents to live foreva! guess the movie.

Image dog

How could those tiles not be historic? It’s a little like Trump tearing down and throwing out the Art Deco Sculptures from the Bonwit Teller building. Those tiles are the 7 train. Jeez, just glue them back on with that adhesive that can hold up a concrete tunnel ceiling.

Gardens Watcher

How many MTA workers will it take to remove the tiles? If the Roosevelt Ave. project is any indication: One guy working and 4 to watch, plus a few supervisors.

Gardens Watcher

Don’t throw out the tiles — Repurpose them. How about giving them to local schools, or local artists, and have a creative contest? Make them into tabletops or something for the neighborhood?


Does the MTA not know how tiles work? Holy crap. This admission of incompetence is amazing. Never before in the history of mankind have so many done so little for so much.


wait, DR closed? sounds like new condos are coming. when is the tear down for the gamestop and duane reade?

Mrs Woodside

Duane Reade closed ! Oh no 😣 I used wait inside store for the Q104 bus when it was too cold . Im too sad .

Jack Doe

That stained glass is average at best. As far as I’m concerned they should touch it by replacing it with better stained glass art.

There is so much low-hanging beautification fruit in the MTA stations and it would go along way toward keeping us happy while we wait 10 extra minutes in the cold as another local train is sent express.

Jack Doe

Historicity is no reason to preserve these particular milquetoast tiles, but making it look nice is absolutely valued. Please replace this with a decoration you can maintain – materials technology has advanced in the past 70 years and I’m sure they can fashion something that not only sticks to the walls properly but also makes it NICER than it was before.

You get that MTA? Fix a big problem and actually come out ahead. Imagine that.


What happen to the Duane Reade on corner of 48 St & Queens Blvd. its closed ? No sign no nothing ??
It was there for a long time. Game Stop across the street closed so what is happening .. Dont tell me another monster hosing development ?


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