Revved up engines, screeching tires and the din of loud music booming out of car windows are among the sounds that are waking up residents throughout Sunnyside late at night.
The noise stems from drag racers who have been tearing up and down the streets and avenues of Sunnyside late at night—often on their way to empty parking lots on 48th Street by Northern Boulevard to burn rubber with hundreds of onlookers.
“It’s been happening every weekend, and two or three random nights during the week,” said Monica Hall, a born and bred Sunnysider who lives on 49th Street by 39th Avenue. “It’s so loud my dogs hide behind the furniture.”
The complaints about drag racing have been piling up in the past two months, with the trouble spots including 39th Avenue, Skillman Avenue, 43rd Avenue as well as 43rd and 48th Streets.
There have been 32 complaints about drag racing in the 11101 and 11104 ZIP codes from Sept.1 through Oct. 5, according to 311 data analyzed by the Queens Post. For the same period last year, there were just two for those zip codes.
The data also shows that 25 of 32 complaints concern incidents in Sunnyside Gardens and in the Long Island City area near the Home Depot parking by Northern Boulevard, a popular venue for drag racers.
Antoin O’Duibhir, who lives on 39th Avenue by 48th Street, said that the noise has become too much. He says that many of the drag racers tear up local streets with their souped-up cars and then go down to the Home Depot parking lot.
“It’s been going on for weeks,” O’Duibhir said. “It’s like shotguns going off out the back of them. You hear these big pops going off.”
O’Duibhir, fed up by what’s been going on, did some investigative work and checked out what was happening at the Home Depot parking lot on Saturday night.
“I went down there at midnight and there were crowds and crowds of people,” he said. “I would say 500 people and lots of cars too.”
He said that he was stunned by the number of attendees and how organized it was. He said there was even drone capturing footage of the event.
“They have nice cars, souped-up Mercedes and BMWs,” he said. “All have nice wheels, mufflers and dark windows.”
The cars take turns ripping donuts, he said. In one instance, which he recorded, the driver was doing a spin while a passenger was hanging out the car window trying to get the crowd to cheer him on.
“It’s dangerous,” he said, adding that someone will get killed. He said the vehicles spin so close to the spectators.