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CBS2 Gets Action In Astoria, But Loud Car Meet-Ups Continue In Another Part Of Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Car stunts through Queens streets and parking lots have become a new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. CBS2's Lisa Rozner got action on one problem spot and now is highlighting another.

It sounds like gunshots but it's a car meet-up. Neighbors say the sounds and stunts occur regularly, anytime between Thursday and Sunday, at a Home Depot parking lot on Northern Boulevard.

"It's noisy, real noisy, really loud," Sunnyside resident Antoin O'Duibhir said.

Just last week, Rozner reported on the same problem in a parking lot in Astoria. After her story, the property owner put up "no loitering" signs, and residents say it has been quiet for the first time in months.

But other neighborhoods still have the same issue.

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After almost two months of hearing loud noise in Sunnyside, O'Duibhir checked it out and saw a man taking selfies out the window while the driver did doughnuts.

"There was two smells, the smell of burning rubber and the smell of pot," O'Duibhir said. "You're talking 600 to 700 people there. I was shocked at how organized it was. I mean, they had a drone flying over top taking videos."

But neighbors say this is just one stop in an unofficial raceway that wraps around their neighborhood.

"They go from Home Depot lot up to Stop & Shop lot. They do their doughnuts and then they come back down," said resident Eileen Connolly-Goodwin. "It's really frightening. It's ridiculous."

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Neighbors said the drivers speed down 48th Street, which connects Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard. In the latest incident, a vehicle slammed into a property near the corner of 39th Avenue, leaving behind the fender. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.

"They had no fear of being caught," resident Eugene Manning said. "I called the police and I said, 'Listen, they've been doing this all night.' It's like scratching your nails on a chalkboard for hours, for like an hour and a half."

He said police didn't call back for an hour and a half.

"One thing they could do is put in speed bumps," resident Matthew Abbott said.


Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer contacted the Department of Transportation and Home Depot's CEO. The company said it is working on installing gates and having stronger security overnight.

"The Department of Transportation has a lot that it can do. That includes some architecture and construction changes to the nature of the streets," Van Bramer said.

The NYPD said its commanding officer aware of the conditions.

As for speed bumps, the DOT issued the following statement:

"DOT is evaluating additional traffic calming measures in addition to working with NYPD to build on an earlier initiative that reduced the speed limit on sections of 48th Street to 20 mph and other blocks in this area as part of a Neighborhood Slow Zone. While we cannot place speed bumps on a bus route like 48th Street, or on a truck route, DOT is looking at the feasibility of a newer treatment called speed cushions, which can be installed on these types of routes and help encourage slower vehicle speeds."

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