By Sabina Mollot
With noise from neighbors’ parties to the sounds of equipment used for maintenance work echoing through Stuyvesant Town being a top tenant concern, Blackstone has been mulling a number of ideas for taking the volume down a notch.
In one example, to cut down on noise from the large tent at Playground 11 from basketball games and other sports played inside, Blackstone is considering replacing it with two smaller tents in different playgrounds next year. Management’s also looking into a new kind of cart for transporting garbage around the property that won’t make as much noise as the kind currently used when wheeled around.
These ideas were mentioned in a letter written by ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk to a tenant in response to a letter she sent him on Monday airing her concerns about ongoing noise. (Both letters were passed on to Town & Village by their respective authors.)
In the original letter, the resident, who later asked that her name not be published, ticked off a list of chronic disturbances, from the tent to barking dogs to the shouting of employees as they worked.
In one example, she said that when the maintenance workers pick up garbage by her building, they use noisy wheeled carts to bring garbage to a waiting truck on the street, and shout while throwing bottle filled bags onto the waiting trucks. She also said the golf carts ridden by the grounds crew are noisy as equipment and supplies are loaded and unloaded. The problem was especially noticeable since the property’s garden shop and construction warehouse as well as stacks of materials were located near her building on the Avenue C Loop. Then there’s the beep-beep-beeping of onsite work vehicles as they back up.
“There needs to be an instituted policy with rules, signs in the street and on the sidewalks, and written guidelines, including enforcement by security to eliminate traffic and noise nuisances,” pleaded the resident.
She also asked Blackstone to cut the hours for use of the tent, which is currently open from 9 a.m. through dusk to 1-5 p.m. on weekdays and through 8 p.m. during the summer.
“There are many other basketball courts very close by in the neighborhood,” argued the longtime tenant, whose apartment is above the tent. Later in her letter, she asked Blackstone to just dismantle it for good and also move the storage of supplies and materials elsewhere.
However, in response, Hayduk said the tent a.k.a. The Courts at Stuy Town wasn’t going anywhere.
“We have thousands who use the tents in the winter time,” Hayduk said, “especially parents who have limited recreational options with their children.” He added that the hours for the tent mirror those of the property’s playgrounds which have been the same for years.
However, he then went on to insist management was trying to cut down on noise in other ways. He noted that in a recent newsletter to tenants, Blackstone announced that it would be ending the use of leaf blowers (a frequent source of tenant ire) while also reminding tenants to be mindful that noises easily carry from apartment to apartment.
“We’ll continue to push for a higher level of resident awareness of being respectful neighbors,” added Hayduk.
As for the new type of trash cart that will replace the current one, Hayduk said it will be rubber and air-filled. He added that he forwarded her letter to the crews that work outside to alert employees they need to keep their voices down near the buildings.
As for the beeping of work vehicles, Hayduk said they too will be replaced. The new kind will be electric, but they too will beep when backing up. However, Hayduk insisted that the vehicles’ operators try to avoid backing up whenever possible. He also told her that the materials stored outside by the grounds crew will be moved once Blackstone finds another location.
When asked for comment on Blackstone’s plans for reducing noise, Paula Chirhart, a spokesperson for the owner, said the letter from Hayduk pretty much sums it up.
Meanwhile, the Avenue C resident said she was happy to hear from Hayduk about some of the changes, like the new kind of trash carts, but was still upset about the beeping trucks as well as the fact that the tent, which, she called “a nuisance” to her and to others in her building, wasn’t going away completely.
“Mr. Hayduk recently moved onto the ST/PCV premises with his wife and children, and, therefore, presumably, favors families when it pertains to recreation areas and recreation events, particularly the tented basketball courts on Playground 11,” she said.
Excess noise has been such a major quality of life concern in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village that last October, the Tenants Association held a public meeting about it.
This week, Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg said she’s heard a couple of complaints lately from residents whose apartments face the tent, who told her the sounds from basketball games and shouting are definitely audible.
“If you’re someone who doesn’t go to an office from 9 to 5 and trying to work, it can be tough,” she said. She added, “All I can say is that noise is very pervasive. I think (Blackstone is) concerned, but getting it under control is a major challenge. It requires a series of small changes before a sea change happens.”
Steinberg also recommended that in cases where noise is coming from nearby apartments, that residents try to work it out amongst themselves. “It starts with individuals,” she said. “If there is an issue tenants should talk to each other. I don’t mean banging on doors, but if you happen to see somebody in the elevator or hallway, just start talking to them. It may not always work, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”