ASTORIA — The ever-looping holiday music that plays from speakers on Steinway Street each year is back — to the delight and dread of residents living in the area.
The Steinway Astoria Partnership brings the holiday tunes, a 20-year tradition, to the busy commercial street every year, played through speakers attached to street lamps between 28th and 35th avenues, according to director Marie Torniali.
"To add some ambiance to the street during the holiday," she said. "It brings people into the spirit."
The music has been a source of contention in years past, at least online. A 2009 thread about it on the local message board Astorians.com sparked a long debate, with one user saying they were "being driven insane by trying to work while being forced to listen to loud music all day."
"While I lay sick in my bed, Steinway has already started blasting Christmas music," one man wrote on Twitter earlier this month. "I think someone really is trying to drive me crazy."
But many shoppers interviewed recently said they enjoyed the festive tunes.
"It helps you enjoy the season, makes it a little less boring," said Laura Kryzston, who's lived in the neighborhood for about two years. "There are so many other things in this city to be annoyed about."
"I think it's cute for the holidays," said John, who works in a local shop on Steinway but declined to give his last name. "It brings a festive spirit to the area."
Torniali said complaints regarding the music have been "few and far between," but noted that the BID waits until after Thanksgiving to start playing the music, and only broadcasts on the street between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
"We try to be cognizant," she said.
The playlist on Monday included songs like "Silver Bells," I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "Let it Snow" and Mariah Carey's always popular "All I Want for Christmas is You."
"I think it's fabulous," said Norman Lee Price II, who moved to Astoria about six months ago.
"Astoria is a magical place," he said, adding it's been hard to get into the holiday spirit since the weather this month has frequently been in the 60s.
"At this point, any little bit helps."