Scores of pigeons that have built nests around the 7 train elevated tracks in Woodside and Sunnyside have for years forced straphangers and pedestrians to duck and dodge as they wait for trains or walk on the street beneath the tracks, residents and elected officials say.
Portions of the station's metal structure have become encrusted with thick layers of pigeon droppings over the years, and stretches of the pavement below the stations are covered with a gray mass of droppings mixed with feathers. Above, adult birds perch on the beams, feeding their young.
Pigeons have grown so accustomed to the presence of the people that some birds have built their nests directly above the entrance to the 52nd Street station.
“It’s a serious problem in the area,” said Delfino Galizia, 48, a restaurant worker who lives nearby and has been hit by pigeon droppings a few times.
“It’s disgusting,” he said, pointing at the sidewalk below the elevated trucks which was covered with bird droppings. “The birds also spread diseases and draw a big population of flies to the area.”
The stations that will receive the anti-pigeon systems are 46th Street/Bliss Street, 52nd Street and 61st Street/Woodside, where the issue has been particularly severe and where most of the complaints have come from, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who requested the money to be allocated to the MTA.
The system, which Van Bramer hopes will be installed by summer, will include pigeon deterrent spikes, netting placed beneath the elevated tracks, and bird wire, according to the MTA.
There will also be an ultrasonic device installed at 52nd Street, reps from the agency said. It will make sounds that are unbearable to pigeons, but which can’t be heard by people.
“All the methods will be humane,” said Van Bramer, who himself experienced the consequences of birds’ presence in the area.
“I was hit twice when I was campaigning around 52nd Street,” he said.
Some say the worst-affected area is the pedestrian space below the elevated tracks, because pigeons roost on the structure that supports the tracks and stations.
Thomas Faulcon, 24, a bartender, who was waiting at the Q32 bus stop beneath the train tracks on Roosevelt Avenue near the 61st Street station, said he “saw it drop many times," speaking of clumps of dung.
And Casey Hendrickson, 28, a student who has lived in the area around the 61st Street station for four years said she is careful when she is walking around.
“Sometimes there are many of them in one spot and if you walk between them they can fly right into your face,” she said.