Today’s news:

Vallone wants Ditmars fix

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) is calling on the MTA to inspect and repair the elevated train along the N line at Astoria’s Ditmars Boulevard after a piece of wood fell from the tracks onto the street last week.

The councilman said his office has also received numerous complaints from community residents whose parked cars have been damaged by creosote, a wood preserve made from distilled coal tar, dripping from the tracks.

A two-foot piece of wood with pointed edges fell from a station overhang at the Ditmars subway stop onto the sidewalk near 31st Street around 5 p.m. Aug. 19, but no passers-by were injured, Vallone said.

“It’s one of the most crowded subway stations in the city, so thank God nobody was hurt,” the councilman said. “This clearly shows the MTA needs to use its fare increase to improve the infrastructure because it is literally falling down on our heads.”

Vallone said he expects the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to upgrade the subway station, which he said has “deteriorated.”

The councilman said Astoria residents have also complained that the paint on their vehicles has been damaged when they parked underneath the elevated track on 31st Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue. Creosote had been used on the tracks and some had dripped down onto the cars along the street, he said.

“Most car owners don’t know what this stuff is or where it came from, so they don’t report it,” said Vallone.

The councilman said the substance has dripped on his car during three different occasions, causing the paint to fade.

“If you don’t remove it within 24 hours, it will permanently hurt your paint job,” he said.

Harry Panagiopopoulos, owner of Igloo ice cream shop on 31st Street in Astoria, said his $90,000 Range Rover was damaged by the liquid from the tracks.

“The creosote dripped all over the hood, fenders, bumper and trunk,” he said. “It cost me $5,000, so I’m going to petition the MTA. I’m not paying out of my pocket.”

Panagiopopoulos said he took his vehicle to a car wash to remove the creosote, but the paint on his Range Rover peeled off when the substance was removed.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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