Blackstone looking at ways to reduce noise

The sports tent at Playground 11 a.ka. The Courts at Stuy Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The sports tent at Playground 11 a.ka. The Courts at Stuy Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

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In the original letter, the resident, who later asked that her name not be published, ticked off a list of chronic disturbances, from the tent to barking dogs to the shouting of employees as they worked.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.”

22 thoughts on “Blackstone looking at ways to reduce noise

  1. I must say I am still mystified by people who choose to move into a complex with recreational facilities, and then complain that other residents choose to use those facilities.

    For the record, I do not use the playgrounds myself – I have no children, and do not participate in any of the sports available. I always thought, though, that they are part of the Neighborhood life I want. There are many buildings in this city that do not have playgrounds near them – someone who objects to the sound of people playing does have options.

    I face 14th St. I don’t get to look out at grass, trees and flowers. I do, however, get to listen to construction from multiple building sites all day. For those who work from home, as I do, and find the sound of a basketball game too irritating, I suggest the earphones and music I have been using to muffle the sound of jackhammers and press drills for several years now.

    • I don’t think anyone’s objecting to the playgrounds, just that one is covered in a football field sized tent, which amplifies sound, and stays open late at night.

      As for their necessity, there are quite a number of parks and indoor rec centers nearby. Playgrounds are great, but the commercialization of them, such as the tent and the ice rinks are not, and a violation of the zoning laws, which seems to be conveniently overlooked by our local governance.

    • Hey! I did NOT choose to move into a complex with recreational facilities. Well, at least not the kind of “recreational facilities” they have now.

      I chose to move into a quiet, tree-filled oasis of peace and tranquility in this City of Total Mania! Sure, there were playgrounds for the kids and pick-up hockey games, but we did not have to endure the wacking and thwacking from the f**king “Tents” and all the rest of the Carnival Cruise crap that goes on in these ugly eyesore tents.

      We also weren’t exposed and exploited by execrable BAD caterwauling from third-rate wannabe musicians who pollute the Oval in place of where we used to have beautiful, whispering trees that were absolute medicine to the senses after spending the day/week dealing with the boss, the traffic, the transit, heat, humidity, etc., etc.

      The peace, tranquility and spirit-lifting, energy-renewing ambiance of that beautiful oasis was ripped from us by greedy, blood-sucking inbred morons who don’t have enough class to be able to tell the difference between gasoline and fine wine. I speak of Tishman Speyer, CWC and all the money-grubbing dreck from Benmoshe on. Short-sighted filth who will never really understand what they destroyed for the few shekels they raked in.

      • The “dreck” you refer to knew exactly what they were doing. They just didn’t care. Since they didn’t live here, none of the adverse quality of life changes they forced on us affected them.

  2. If I lived in close proximity to that big white eyesore, I’d invest in a projector and “beautify” it with some nice images and words of wisdom. We have a First Amendment for a reason, get creative with it!

  3. Enough of the Carnival Cruise Oval junk.
    Enough of the taking over the playgrounds by “Pay to Play” profit organizations.
    Enough of the Strip Malling of the Oval with glorified truck TV screen movies and crappy loud concerts, both overrun by non-tenants and their “guests” where just outside the “Campus” is the greatest city in the world. Hey Rube!


  4. Sorry for the long post. Text as per the T&V:

    “He added that the hours for the tent mirror those of the property’s playgrounds which have been the same for years.”
    “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 is incorrect information in both of these statements. Could be Management, the tenant or the T&V reporting or a combo of all three. As per the official StuyTown webpage:

    The Courts at StuyTown– Hours-Mon-Sun 9am-9pm.

    And “The Courts at Stuytown” are NOT open during the summer.

    “Shelve your plans to hibernate this winter! We are happy to announce that The Courts at Stuy Town is returning this year, opening on December 1st! Running until late winter, the tented & fully enclosed playground space will again be open to residents and their guests, heated and shielded from the elements. The Courts at Stuy Town offers a host of fun activities for all ages and interests.”

    As per the official StuyTown webpage:

    “Playground Rules
    All StuyTown (formerly known as PCVST) playgrounds, which are open from 9:15am to dusk weather permitting, are available to residents and their guests based on the Playground Access policy. The following rules apply to the various playgrounds. The rules are also posted outside each playground. “

    So let’s recap. “Hours for the tent mirror those of the property’s playgrounds”. No, the playgrounds close at dusk, all seasons. So Rick Hayduk was given incorrect “metrics’ here. That is one of the main reasons “The Courts” are a major noise issue for those tenants who face it. They are open to 9 PM. They do not close “at dusk”. The still embedded TS/CWC/CR dysfunctional culture is not providing correct information to the new Blackstone Management team. I had this concern from the get go. Also, there are financial “play to pay” vendor considerations at play here as well. During the winter, it no longer “dusk” at 6 PM. It is night. And just before DST, I walked by playground 12 around 6.25 PM. Way past dusk, it was night. And playground 12 was packed with children and parents. So much for closing at dusk.

  5. Glad to see an article about the noise problems in STPCV and what Management is doing to address them, but one of the most egregious and widespread noise problems — apartments with no rugs and apartments with rugs that are inadequate to properly muffle sound — wasn’t even mentioned.

    I think that when apartments become vacant, Management should wall-to-wall carpet them before they’re re-rented. It would solve the 80% floor covering, non-compliance problem and eliminate or drastically reduce the noise problem, especially given the high apartment turnover rate here. Security deposits on these high $$ rental apartments could be used to cover the costs of rug cleaning, repair or replacement. I’ve proposed this to Management on a number of different occasions.

    • Good idea to carpet apartments before they are rented to students. I don’t think they even have any idea that they are being annoying to neighbors when they click around in their high heels and blast their music. Good, sturdy wall-to-wall carpeting with underpadding will resolve a lot of the problems with indoor noise, ranging from high heels and boots to kids running around. I always think that bare floors make a place look “cold” and they can be hazardous if you are wearing spiky heels and the floor is polished.

    • This is such a no-brainier idea that you have to wonder why Blackstone Management doesn’t wall-to-wall carpet empty apartments. What’s their resistance to such a common sense approach? It would solve so many of the noise problems here. While they were in charge here, it seemed to be CWCapital and Compass Rock’s greedy, inhumane game plan to deliberately harass long time tenants with an ever-changing supply of noisy neighbors, hoping the old timers would get fed up and move. Unless Blackstone handles the problem differently, it will look like it’s their game plan, too.

        • As was stated above, “Security deposits on these high $$ rental apartments could be used to cover the costs of rug cleaning, repair or replacement.”

        • Security deposits?? The owner can’t touch security deposits. Ever notice the statement that you get from Citibank for about 50 cents in interest on your security deposit each year. It is technically your money not the owners, thus the interest. The owner is required to keep that money on “deposit’ for you and it is to be kept separate from the operating budget.There is a section on your lease regarding these funds.

        • Why exactly do you think security deposits exist? The purpose of security deposits is to cover costs in case of damage to the rented apartment. If wall-to-wall carpeting was installed and then damaged by a renter(s), Management would be within its rights to use some/all of those funds to repair/repair the carpeting. Do you really not know this?

  6. Dear T&V: As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. You let a very important detail slip through the cracks of your reporting about noise reduction efforts by Blackstone. Regarding this statement: “… in a recent newsletter to tenants, Blackstone announced that it would be ending the use of leaf blowers (a frequent source of tenant ire) …” The actual wording in the announcement is here: “As part of our commitment to improving your quality of life, we are very pleased to announce that we will be phasing out one of the biggest sources of resident complaints: gas-powered leaf blowers. Over the following months, our grounds crew will begin using new rechargeable electric leaf blowers. Not only are the new models 40% quieter but each gas-powered leaf blower that we replace will save 145 gallons of gas every year!” Electric battery powered leaf blowers are still VERY NOISY especially when a squad of 5 or 6 men are working in tandem and using the device not for blowing leaves but for sweeping sidewalks. Leaf blowers by their very nature stir up and widely disseminate airborne contaminants and particulates and all sorts of debris that people inhale. Ban the leaf blowers except in limited situations perhaps during fall season or on the Oval. Keep our air quality cleaner by using rakes and brooms instead of leaf blowers to as sweepers. Go green. Save money, reduce carbon footprint, and keep neighborhood healthier.

    • Rakes and brooms? But that would mean the guys would have to actually WORKa!!! What were you thinking, Bernadette, with such a radical suggestion!

      • You’ve gotta be kidding me. Rakes and brooms? This is an 80 acre property! They’re trying to reduce noise, while keeping this place clean efficiently. What more do you want!!????

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