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CBS 2 Exclusive: Queens Business Owner Claims East Side Access Project Caused Major Damage

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An $11 billion construction project is on track to improve commutes on the rails, but some residents and business owners in Queens have said it is making a mess.

As CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported exclusively Tuesday, the East Side Access Project is intended to create a new railroad and tunnel to link Manhattan to Long Island.

But caught in the middle are Marc Newman and his business, Standard Refrigerators.

As CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported, Newman blames construction for the East Side Access Project, which has involved blasting and tunneling across Queens and under Manhattan, with rattling and ripping apart his business.

"When they could have taken care of us, they didn't," Newman said.

Newman showed Carlin his property line, abutting the tracks with loose soil on a hill that sends water into his business.

He claims the damage estimate from cracks and flooding is up to $60,000 and counting.

"Beyond annoying," Newman said.

The project linking Long Island with Grand Central is mostly a stealth operation taking place deep underground -- but such is not the case in Sunnyside.

"This is a community. This is not merely a construction site," said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th.)

The area is part of Van Bramer's district, and he called leaders of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Long Island Rail Road, and East Side Access "bad neighbors."

CBS 2 pressed Michael Horodniceanu, president of MTA Capital Construction, about Newman's nightmare.

"Cracks have developed over the years does not mean we generated them," he said.
"At the same time, want to take the positive approach."

Horodniceanu also said recently that seeds were planted on the hill near Newman's business to create foliage for water-proofing and that within a year, drains will be installed to redirect runoff from the project.

But Newman is fed up with the project.

"It's been five years," he said. "Just fix it and let us work in peace."

Newman said he cannot replace walls and install new carpet until he can be assured ongoing construction won't keep shaking and flooding his building.

The project is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

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