Staten Island Haunted by High Hum

Updated, 3:01 p.m. | Residents of South Beach, Staten Island, are being driven mad. When the wind is right along Father Capodanno Boulevard, high celestial harmonies swell in the air, crescendo and drift in and out of phase, like an battalion of crickets armed with sopranino recorders. It may sound like a cool environmental art installation, but if you live near it, it is not much fun.

“It sounds like 100,000 people with unlimited air in their lungs blowing through Coke bottles,” Steve Elias, president of the local civic association, told The Staten Island Advance. “It’s almost alien-like.” Another neighbor likened the high hum to Chinese water torture. Dogs, too, find it unbearable.

The culprit turns out to be the skeleton frame of the Ocean Breeze Athletic Center, an indoor track the city is building on Capodanno near Seaview Avenue — specifically, and perhaps ironically, the acoustic baffling panels that will eventually muffle the pound and squeak of runners’ sneakers, the Department of Design and Construction said on Thursday.

The baffling panels are not yet enclosed or insulated, and as long as they are open to the elements, the city said, they will whistle when the wind strikes them from certain angles.

Crews are working overtime to get complete the exterior shell of the building and enclose the panels, the design department said.

“We sincerely regret any annoyance the wind noise may be causing for residents of the area,” the department said in a statement on Thursday. “We expect to complete the roof by mid-November and the exterior shell by early December.”

So if you want to hear it in person, better go soon. Or you can content yourself with the video above.

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