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Giant Rusty Bolt Falls From The 7 Train Track, Missing Man By Inches


In what now seems like a bi-monthly occurrence, the 7 train’s elevated trackbed has apparently rained down yet another heavy chunk of debris towards the street below, narrowly missing an unsuspecting New Yorker. [UPDATE below]

The latest projectile came in the form of a massive rusty bolt, which crashed through the roof of Kew Gardens resident Philip Garcia’s car as he drove under the Queensboro Plaza trestle on Tuesday morning.

“You just hear a loud sound, and there’s a huge, five-pound bolt through your sunroof,” said Garcia, a 31-year-old general contractor. “It’s pretty crazy.”

“I’ve seen things fall from the 7 train since I was a teenager,” he added. “But I’ve never seen anything like that.”

A protective covering beneath the sunroof blocked the seven-inch object from fully landing inside the vehicle, but only barely.

“If the timing would have been off by a few seconds, the enormous piece of metal could have crashed through the windshield and severely injured him,” Garcia’s fiance, Caitlin Mejia, told Gothamist. “Someone is going to be killed because of this infrastructure!”

It’s at least the fifth event since February in which the crumbling 7 train infrastructure has imperiled pedestrians and drivers below. In one particularly hairy incident that month, an unsecured piece of track fell from the 65th and Roosevelt station, smashing the windshield of an unoccupied car. Several other near-misses in the months since have prompted the MTA to inspect the 7 train track and install netting under some (but not all) platforms—which does seem to be working.

Some local officials say the netting is not enough. “It is essential that the MTA reviews the entirety of the line to assure that all materials are securely fastened to the line so that no debris falls through and endangers the lives of anyone for simply being under the trestle,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer told Gothamist on Tuesday. “It is shocking that this even needs to be said, but people shouldn’t have to be scared to pass underneath the 7 train.”

The MTA said they were investigating the incident, but could not provide additional details by press time.

UPDATE 3:50 p.m. The MTA had previously installed protective container at the location of this morning’s bolt incident, as part of a pilot program to prevent track material from falling off elevated structures. It didn’t work, clearly, for reasons that remain uncertain.

“The MTA’s first priority is the safety of New Yorkers,” said MTA Communications Director Tim Minton. “There are protective measures strategically placed underneath tracks on elevated lines throughout the system, including at the location of today’s debris on the N-W line south of Queensboro Plaza. Metal containers like the ones at that section of the N-W line are specifically designed to catch bolts at rail joints such as the one that fell today. We are investigating how and why the bolt came loose and was not caught by the system as designed.”

The section of track where the bolt came loose belonged to the N/W line (not the 7), according to the MTA, and was inspected just last week.

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