Amtrak Angers Residents After Blocking Views In The Hieghts, Spraying Chemicals

Upper Manhattan residents held a rally Wednesday night to call out the transit company Amtrak for its poor treatment of uptown neighborhoods.

Residents held signs reading “stop Amtrak” near the site of a new billboard the company is constructing over its tracks on the west side of Manhattan. The billboard, located on West 155th Street between Riverside Drive and the West Side Highway, will block scenic views of the Hudson River.

“The view from 155th St up the Hudson to the GW Bridge is one of the most iconic views in NYC. And now it’s about to be sullied by a giant billboard being erected by [Amtrak]. Our neighborhood is united in calling its removal,”

“The view from 155th St up the Hudson to the GW Bridge is one of the most iconic views in NYC. And now it’s about to be sullied by a giant billboard being erected by [Amtrak]. Our neighborhood is united in calling its removal,” Uptown City Councilman Mark Levine said in a statement posted to social media.

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Locals and politicians have been voicing concerns about the billboard since construction began earlier this year. Officials such as Levine, Harlem Congressman Adriano Espaillat, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer called on the transit company to suspend construction and conduct a public review process with neighborhood residents. Officials claimed that the local community boards and elected officials were never given prior notice of the billboard construction.

The area where West 155th Street meets Riverside Drive is one of the best spots to take in views of the Hudson River because it’s an elevated platform. The spot offers clear views of Fort Washington Park and the George Washington Bridge to the north.

Uptown residents feel like the billboard issue is a sign of continued disrespect to the Upper Manhattan communities that Amtrak runs its trains through. The rally also called out the transit agency for its role in spraying pesticides that caused thousands of dollars in property damage to a community garden in Harlem.

Uptown residents feel like the billboard issue is a sign of continued disrespect to the Upper Manhattan communities that Amtrak runs its trains through. The rally also called out the transit agency for its role in spraying pesticides that caused thousands of dollars in property damage to a community garden in Harlem.

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Volunteer gardeners at the Riverside Valley Community Garden — located on West 138th Street and Riverside Drive near the Amtrak tracks — reported contamination of peach, pear, apple, and fig trees, fruit-bearing plants, multiple flowerbeds and vegetables ready for harvest in September. The contamination occurred after Amtrak sprayed a “highly toxic, broad-spectrum herbicide” on a railroad right-of-way near the garden — which is also known as “Jenny’s Garden.”

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