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Forest Hills Stadium owners sued as neighbors complain about noise

Forest Hills Stadium owners sued as neighbors complain about noise
Forest Hills Stadium owners sued as neighbors complain about noise 02:28

NEW YORK -- Crowds packed a historic stadium in Forest Hills for a music festival Saturday, but residents say the music is just too loud, and now they're taking legal action.

Thousands of concertgoers paid their way to get to the two-day music festival, but neighbors like Maggie Li, just feet from Forest Hills Stadium, could hear it all for free.

"I can't take it anymore," Li said.

For the past 10 years, the 100-year-old stadium resumed holding concerts after it sat abandoned.

Li, who is part of the group Concerned Citizens of Forest Hills, says the noise is so loud, she moved out of her home for three years so her son could study.

"You can't enjoy your weekends. You can't enjoy your house, your time with your kids or friends. You can't eat at home. That's just too much," she said.

She wants to see the West Side Tennis Club, which owns the stadium, do more to mitigate the noise.

The venue got at least five noise violations last year from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The nonprofit Forest Hills Gardens Corporation is suing the owners over an "appalling" number of concerts, saying it violates residential zoning in the Forest Hills Gardens community. It also threatened to close Burns Street to pedestrians, the only safe walkway into the stadium.

West Side Tennis Club and its concert booker countersued over the threatened closures ahead of the 30 shows already booked this summer. A judge gave an injunction this week to keep the street open.

"The street stayed open. We've had zero problems all day. Despite it being a torrential mess weather-wise, tons of happy kids. Zero issues," Forest Hills Stadium President Mike Luba said.

The venue itself has invested in sound mitigation, including soundproofing that you'll see when going to and from the venue itself, as well as a sign reading, "These walls were specifically designed to minimize the sound that reaches our neighbors across the street."

"This has been an ongoing project where we make continual improvements every year. We just had another meeting with the DEP. We're gonna do another whole 'nother round of sound mitigation to try again to make it a little bit better," Luba said.

The stadium has even paid for roof repairs to a nearby home that claimed to lose tile over the concert vibrations. The Forest Hills Stadium president says the club wants to be a good neighbor, even if it doesn't feel responsible for the damage.

This goes to court next Wednesday, May 31.

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